Will they stay or will they go?
Like many Batemans Bay residents, the National Parks and Wildlife Service is unsure when the camp of grey-headed flying foxes will be departing the town.
A NPWS specialist has been monitoring the Batemans Bay bats during visits every Friday.
“Last Friday, NPWS staff estimated there were between 1500 and 2000 flying-foxes at the Water Gardens in Batemans Bay,” NPWS spokeswoman Lucy Morrell said.
“Since its arrival, the population has fluctuated from a peak of about approximately 3000 to an estimated low of 100 and the NPWS continues to monitor the flying fox population weekly.”
There appeared to be many more there on Thursday.
“During the current spotted gum blossom season, this temporary flying fox camp has fluctuated down to approximately 1000 then back to its peak of 2500 to 3000 animals, so we are monitoring this closely to determine whether or not the recent reduction is a clear indication the animals are depleting their food source and leaving.”
The bats are feeding on flowering eucalyptus, and when these are diminished, NPWS believes - and many Batemans Bay residents hope - they will move on.
NPWS believes that nasty smells, denuded trees and lots of noise are the worst we can expect from the bats.
“The risk of flying foxes transmitting disease to humans is extremely low,” an NPWS spokesman said.
“Provided that basic hygiene measures are taken, there is no reason for the public to be concerned about disease risks.”
For more information on the bats, whose tenure has redefined the phrase “flying visit”, go to the Office of Environment and Heritage website at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/flyingfoxes.htm.