Do not disturb! Grey-headed flying foxes under holiday stress
Thursday 19 January, 2023
Illegal and disruptive activities at Melbourne’s Yarra Bend Park are putting Victoria’s largest permanent flying fox colony and their pups at risk.
As summer heats up and Victorians enjoy time outdoors, it’s important to be considerate of the native wildlife we share our parks with, including the threatened Grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus).
Following a recent spate of illegal rave parties held in the park, flying fox pups are being abandoned by frightened mothers fleeing from loud noises and flashing lights.
Sadly, rangers from Parks Victoria discovered several deceased pups after a rave in late 2022.
The colony at Yarra Bend are particularly vulnerable to the pressures that come with the busy summer holiday period – from hot weather to an increase in visitors, movement and noise pollution.
The public can help protect flying foxes by minimising noise when walking past the colony, staying on marked trails and keeping dogs on leads.
Members of the public are encouraged to report illegal parties and other events to Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or to Victoria Police. If you find a bat in distress, do not touch it or get too close. Call 136 186 for wildlife emergencies or use the ‘Help for Injured Wildlife’ tool at wildlife.vic.gov.au.
Parks Victoria works in partnership with Victoria Police and local councils to prosecute offenders conducting an unlicensed event, erecting equipment without a permit, unlawfully displaying advertising, camping in an area not permitted and driving off-road. Parks Victoria officers will be actively patrolling and enforcing regulations to ensure visitor safety and protection of the environment.
Quotes attributable to Brendan Sullivan, Area Chief Ranger
“If you’re involved in planning or attending illegal events at Yarra Bend Park on Wurundjeri Country, you may not realise how distressing they are to the native colony of bats that usually thrive here.”
“It’s incredibly distressing to find deceased and abandoned pups, who cannot survive without the frightened mothers who took flight from them.”
“Parks Victoria takes a zero-tolerance approach to actions from visitors which cause harm or death to threatened species such as the Grey-headed flying fox.”