Flying Fox Satellite Tracking Project
  • Last updated:
  • 19 Sep 2016

On the Sunshine Coast there may be up to three species of flying fox visiting over twenty local roosts, which can be evenly distributed throughout the region, at any one time. These roosts fluctuate in occupancy throughout the year.

In April 2015, council became the first local government in Queensland to deploy satellite tracking technology to monitor these local populations.


This pioneering research, funded by the Environment Levy, will inform and improve flying fox management in the region.


Ten black flying foxes were captured from Elizabeth Street Drain roost in Coolum Beach.

With full ethics approval and in partnership with CSIRO, the trackers were fitted while the flying foxes were under anaesthetic. CSIRO scientists took blood samples, measurements and other vital information about the animal’s biology.

Trackers were switched on for 10 hours every two days, they weighed in at just 9.5g, making up less than 5% of the animals body weight. Solar panels are positioned to allow charging while the flying foxes hang upside down.

Where to from here

Council monitored the animals over the subsequent six to 12 months, using live mapping data provided by the trackers to answer questions such as how far do they travel, is there a relationship between roosts, where do they feed and do management activities work.

This information will assist council in developing proactive and balanced management plans that deliver for both flying foxes and residents.

Anyone wishing to track the project can do so at the following site:


Council has developed a Regional Flying Fox Management Plan, which has Council, State and Federal Government approval as a Conservation Agreement and is available on council's website.

This long-term plan details how council will manage urban flying fox roosts into the future.

The Environment Levy satellite tracking research project will provide essential data to better inform council’s management of the species in an urban landscape.


View the capture and tagging of the flying foxes as well as details of the program.


For more information, contact the Flying Fox Management Officer via council’s customer service centre.