The much-anticipated departure date for the Batemans Bay flying fox colony still isn’t known, but there are some signs that it may come.
A National Parks and Wildlife Services officer says that while the population of the camp still fluctuates, on the whole it has declined since the furry fliers arrived.
“There are about 1500 to 2000 here at the Water Gardens at the moment, whereas at one point there were about 5000,” NPWS officer Chris Howard said.
Mr Howard, who monitors the bat population here every week, said that the count dropped to 100 at one point.
“This is one of the biggest spotted gum flowering events for years on the South Coast, and once this food source is finished, they will probably go,” he said.
“The gums flower sporadically, and that’s why the bat population fluctuates.”
He said that the origin of many of the bats was a permanent camp at Cockwhy Creek, north of Batemans Bay, and that the belief these were bats scared away from Sydney’s Botanic Gardens was erroneous.
“We fitted transmitters and bands to the bats there and these haven’t shown up here,” he said.
He also said this wasn’t the biggest bat camp the Eurobodalla had hosted.
“About three or four years ago, there was a huge camp at Moruya South Head; much bigger than this,” he said.
While he can understand that many nearby residents are sick of the bats, Mr Howard believes the bats shouldn’t be seen merely as pests.
“They are the best pollinators of native forests because of the long distances they fly,” he said.
“What you can smell when you are near them is not their excrement, but their scent glands. It’s their way of finding their mating pairs.
“They drink by skimming across the top of water and then slurping the water from their fur.”
However, to nearby resident Ken Burn, the novelty, if there was one, has worn off.
“They’re not a
novelty; they’re a bloody menace,” he said.
“I believe they are reducing property
“The people next door have been trying to sell their house
and they’ve had no lookers.”