Why are flying-foxes integral parts of the ecosystem?

    Flying-foxes feed on the nectar and pollen of native flowers and fruits. As a result, they benefit the health of vegetation by spreading seeds and pollinating native plants.

    Where can I find flying-foxes in the Clarence Valley?

    There are 34 flying-fox camps in the Clarence Valley, of which eight camps are subject to management. See the map below to learn where they are:

    There are three species of flying-fox that can be found in the Clarence Valley. They travel large distances across Australia. Visit the National Flying-fox Monitoring Viewer to learn about camp monitoring, and see below for the distribution of the species.

    How can I tell the three local species of flying-fox apart?

    Three species of flying-fox occur in New South Wales.

    Grey-headed flying-foxes (Pteropus poliocephalus) have a rusty reddish-coloured collar, grey head and hairy legs.

    Black flying-foxes (Pteropus alecto) are almost completely black in colour with a slight rusty red-coloured collar and a brush of silvery grey on its belly.

    Little red flying-foxes (Pteropus scapulatus) are the smallest Australian flying-fox and has reddish brown-coloured fur.

    For more information on identification download the Flying-fox Identification fact sheet. More information and distribution maps can be found at the NSW Government website.

    Why is the grey-headed flying-fox listed as a threatened species?

    Grey-headed flying-foxes are the most vulnerable of the three local species. They are listed as vulnerable under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, due to a rapid decline in numbers of up to 30 %, rather than the actual numbers in the existing population. Their decline is due to
    • Competition with humans for prime coastal habitat along the south-east Queensland, NSW and Victorian coasts
    • Habitat loss and modification resulting in removal of sleeping and breeding sites, as well as limitation of natural food resources
    • Culling by humans when negative interactions occur
    • Extreme heat events

    What is a flying-fox management policy and plan?

    NSW Government state that "The Flying-fox Camp Management Policy 2015 empowers land managers, primarily local councils, to work with their communities to manage flying-fox camps effectively. The main purpose of this policy is to minimise health and amenity impacts of flying-fox camps on people at the same time as avoiding unnecessary harm to flying-foxes."

    Land managers, such as Clarence Valley Council, can then develop a camp management plan to record how a flying-fox camp (or a number of camps) will be managed, by addressing management options, flying-fox ecology, case studies of camp management and information about health issues.

    Currently, Clarence Valley Council has a flying-fox management strategy in place for Maclean. We are working on developing an LGA-wide plan for the Clarence Valley Council.

    What can I do if flying-foxes are impacting my well-being?

    The NSW Government has produced a range of excellent resources designed to assist residents that live near a flying-fox camp and reduce conflicts, including the Living with grey-headed flying-foxes brochure.

    If you feel your well-being is affected by the presence of flying-foxes, you may wish to speak to a mental health professional and seek further advice. The Mental Health Line is a 24-hour telephone service operating seven days a week across NSW by calling 1800 011 511.

    Who do you call in the Clarence if you find a sick or injured flying-fox?

    Call Wildlife Rescue 1300 094 737 (WIRES) or go online:


    Experienced, trained handlers will advise what should be done to assist the flying-fox.

    Please note that flying-foxes can carry disease and so you should not touch the flying-fox. Wait for trained handlers to assist.

    If you find a deceased flying-fox, dispose of it safely. Visit the news feed item Do you have dead bats in your yard to learn more.

    What do I do if I notice flying-foxes in heat distress?

    Heat stress affects flying-foxes when temperatures reach 42°C or more and occurs when the body produces more heat than it can dissipate. The NSW Government website has excellent information on how to handle heat stress - view their Responding to heat stress in flying-fox camps page.

    What do I do if I notice someone disturbing or harming flying-foxes?

    If you believe that there has been a compliance issue occurring near a flying-fox camp or to individual flying-foxes, please direct your report to the NSW Government Environment Line (131 555).