Flying Fox Habitat Project Takes Flight in The Tweed – The Echo

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A project to restore six hectares of flying fox habitat to help protect the iconic Tweed species is proving highly successful, the local council has said.

The Sustaining the Tweed’s Flying-fox Forests project has now restored four hectares of suitable habitat, with the final two hectares to be completed by September.

The Tweed Council is working alongside private landowners to restore 6ha of habitat to help protect the endangered Grey-headed Fruit Bat. Image: Tweed Council

The project began in October last year to restore high conservation value foraging habitat for the grey-headed flying fox on six private properties in Tomewin, Urliup and Numinbah.

Michael Corke, biodiversity project officer at Tweed Council, said it was essential to ensure the survival of the grey-headed fruit bat which has been declared an endangered species.

“We are lucky that the Tweed is home to the grey-headed flying fox, but it is crucial to ensure this vulnerable species is not lost in the area,” Mr Corke said.

“It is responsible for pollinating many native trees, with its favorite food including the nectar and pollen of eucalyptus, banksias and melaleucas as well as the fruits of more than 50 native rainforest trees and vines.

“It is Australia’s largest flying fox and it plays a vital role in ensuring the health and survival of iconic ecosystems such as the tall sclerophyll forests and subtropical lowland rainforests.

“In a single night, they can travel up to 100 km in search of food and shed up to 60,000 seeds. While we sleep, they create new forests by dispersing the seeds of the fruits they eat.

Restoration work under the project consisted primarily of primary control of highly invasive woody weeds and vines.

“In addition to the grey-headed flying fox, the restoration of valuable habitat at our project sites supports a number of other endangered animal and plant species and they all benefit from this restoration,” Mr Corke said.

“Flying foxes are threatened by a combination of factors including lack of suitable roosting and foraging habitats, climate-related extreme weather, climate-related food shortages, bushfires, misunderstandings and poor urban planning of the past.

“Completely rehabilitating the sites will help ensure the survival of this iconic species and our unique forests. Landowners on each property learn best practices in ecological restoration techniques and a bit about the ecology of the Grey-headed Fruit Bat.

The project is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment under the Regional Bushfire Recovery Program grant opportunity for multi-regional species and strategic projects.

The Council will continue to help landowners maintain these project sites in the next fiscal year through its biodiversity grants program.

To find out more about Tweed’s flying foxes, visit tweed.nsw.gov.au/environment/native-animals or on the Council’s Biodiversity Grants Scheme at tweed.nsw.gov.au/environmental-subsidies-incentives.

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