FLYING FOXES: Byron Shire Council and the NSW Government will help create buffer zones to protect flying foxes and prevent annoyance in the community.
FLYING FOXES: Byron Shire Council and the NSW Government will help create buffer zones to protect flying foxes and prevent annoyance in the community. Judy Leitch

Who gives a flying fox?

FLYING foxes are set to benefit from nearly $160,000 in grants from both Byron Shire Council and the State Government.

As part of NSW Government's Environmental Trust program, $79,000 will be granted from state coffers, and the council will match it.

Despite the bad rap flying foxes receive, council's Environmental Projects Officer Peter Boyd said the grants were a worthy endeavour.

"Unfortunately, because of habitat destruction and urbanisation, flying foxes are roosting in populated areas and they are noisy,” Mr Boyd said.

"In large numbers, they can impact important native vegetation which can be a problem for people living nearby.”

However, flying foxes play an important part in the ecosystem as they are pollinators and spread seeds.

"Without flying foxes we wouldn't have the vegetation and the ecology that we have today,” Mr Boyd said.

The $158,000 will be spent on development of vegetation management plans, bush regeneration, weed management, educational resources and the creation of buffers to keep flying foxes away from homes.

"It benefits both the flying foxes by improving the quality of their habitat, but it also benefits the community when the flying foxes eventually move away from where they (residents) are living,” Mr Boyd said.

The next six months will see council rebuild vegetation and encourage the flying foxes to move away from residential areas.

Grey-headed flying foxes are listed as vulnerable under NSW and federal legislation and are protected under state and federal laws.

The black and grey-headed flying foxes are found in the Byron Shire and there are five major roosting sites at Mullumbimby, Byron Bay, Suffolk Park and Bangalow.


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