IT’S THE birthing season (September to November) for the Gordon Park flying fox colony in Nambucca Heads.
While talk continues in the community about relocating the animals, Nambucca Shire’s general manager, Michael Coulter, said the process of actively “shooing” them away would cost upwards of $100,000.
“First we would have to prepare a management plan for the camp, then a species impact statement (due to the presence of the vulnerable grey headed flying foxes) - we would have to employ experts for this.
“We would also have to employ qualified people to do population counts.
“It’s a complicated and expensive process.”
He said while there were examples of councils, such as Pittwater Council in Sydney, who have done the hard yards to undertake colony relocation, it was costly with no assurance of success.
“I told the councillors that in my opinion the council could not afford to embark on these sort of processes.”
The Guardian spoke to the principal officer, Natural Environment and Education at Pittwater Council, Matt Hansen, and also the wildlife ecologist, Dr John Martin, at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens.
Dr Martin said the cost of the Garden’s dispersal program between 2007 and 2015 was upwards of $2 million.
He said the funds were spent on attaining the appropriate NSW and Commonwealth approvals, implementing the dispersal, monitoring the program and the maintenance program to ensure the colony did not re-establish.
In Pittwater, $55,000 has been spent so far and while initially successful, the flying foxes have now returned in greater numbers.
Their program is currently on hold due to the arrival of the breeding season.