Council leads the way in Flying fox research
  • Tuesday 26 May 2015
Black Flying fox fitted with satellite tracking collar

Sunshine Coast Council is delivering pioneering research that will inform and improve Flying fox management in the region.

Council has become the first local government in Queensland to deploy satellite tracking technology to monitor Flying fox populations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yFZkm76os4.

The animals will be monitored over the next 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.

With this information, Council can develop proactive and balanced management plans that deliver for both Flying foxes and residents.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said this research had been made entirely possible by the Environment Levy and was another example of Council seeking to better understand its environment.

“Flying foxes are essential to our environment; it’s just unfortunate that conflict occurs when they roost in urban areas," Cr McKay said.

“If we have a better understanding of their roosting behaviour, we may be able to encourage Flying foxes to roost in low-conflict areas. This could help us achieve the balance between protecting Flying foxes and the lifestyle of residents.

“To do this, we need to know why they go where they go and that’s where this research comes in.

“Nationally there are other projects that are tracking Flying foxes but we need localised information. This project will help us answer the unknowns and inform a balanced approach that delivers for everyone.”

Anyone wishing to track the project can do so at www.movebank.org where results are updated daily.

The Project

  • Ten black Flying foxes were captured from a relatively new roost at Coolum Beach, which formed following another camp’s dispersal nearby.
  • With full ethics approval and in partnership with CSIRO, the trackers were fitted while the Flying foxes were under anesthetic. CSIRO scientists took genetic samples, measurements and other vital information about the animal’s biology.
  • Trackers are switched on for 10 hours every two days, they weigh in at just 9.5g, making up less than 5% of the animals body weight. Solar panels are positioned to allow charging while the the Flying foxes hang upside down.