Tamworth flying fox population swells to 100,000

INFLUX: Tamworth Regional Council says the flying fox population along the Peel River has peaked at 100,000 over the last week. Photo: Peter Hardin 270517PHB048
INFLUX: Tamworth Regional Council says the flying fox population along the Peel River has peaked at 100,000 over the last week. Photo: Peter Hardin 270517PHB048

DEALING with a growing, uninvited flying fox population has consumed day-to-day living for East Tamworth residents.

The fluctuating flying fox population in Tamworth has been an ongoing saga for a number of years, but a recent influx has almost broken the resolve of some of the most heavily-affected property owners.

“This is the very worst it has ever been,” Lynne Prisk told The Leader.

The Prisks have been spending a lot of their time recently spraying flying fox feces off surfaces at their property and copping 3.30am wake-up calls from the native mammals which have taken up roost in their thousands along the Peel River.

This is the very worst it has ever been.

Affected resident Lynne Prisk

“We lived in paradise,” she said.

“Now the smell is horrendous, it permeates our clothes.

“The noise is unbearable.”

Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) Central North bat coordinator Jae Price noticed to recent boom in flying fox numbers and has called for less vilification of the visiting species.

Flying Foxes Facts: What you need to know

“They’re a very misunderstood animal,” Ms Price said.

“They play a very important role in seed dispersion and pollination.”

Ms Price wasn’t surprised the bats had come back in big numbers and said they were foraging on flowering trees in the area.

She predicted more could be on their way up from colonies in Murrurundi.

RELATED STORY: Upper Hunter Shire mayor Wayne Bedggood addresses Murrurundi bat issue

Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) regulatory services manager Ross Briggs said the flying fox population had doubled in the last week.

“A week ago there were about 50,000 flying-foxes and it is estimated there are now more than 100,000 animals,” Mr Briggs said.

RELATED STORY: Tamworth flying fox problem will need state government funding

“The majority are grey-headed flying-foxes and about 10,000 little red flying-foxes.”

The flying-foxes are concentrated along the Peel River adjacent to King George V Avenue, near Scott Road Farm and the confluence of Goonoo Goonoo Creek and the Peel River.

The flowering of eucalypts in Tamworth is thought to be one reason why flying-fox numbers have increased, according to the TRC statement.

The creation of a 50m buffer zone around two homes immediately adjacent to the camp by removing exotic vegetation and trimming native trees is one of the first actions set out in the management plan.

Council is ready to start work on its management plan but is still awaiting special licence under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.