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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Thousands of flying foxes set up camp along Richmond River in Casino, northern NSW

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Up to 80,000 flying foxes have incredibly formed a ‘maternity camp’ along a popular riverside in northern New South Wales forcing several parks to close.

The bats, known as little reds, have joined the existing grey-headed and black fruit bat population in Casino, and have set up camp along the Richmond River.

It’s not uncommon for the area to see an influx of bats this time of year with spectacular photos showing thousands of flying foxes roosting in trees and hanging from the branches.

When day turns into night the endless stream of bats then take to the skies, flying over parks, busy streets and homes.

Up to 80,000 flying foxes have incredibly formed a 'maternity camp' along a popular riverside in northern New South Wales forcing several parks to close

Up to 80,000 flying foxes have incredibly formed a ‘maternity camp’ along a popular riverside in northern New South Wales forcing several parks to close

The bats, known as little reds, have joined the existing grey-headed and black fruit bat population in Casino, and have setup camp along the Richmond River

The bats, known as little reds, have joined the existing grey-headed and black fruit bat population in Casino, and have setup camp along the Richmond River

Spectacular photos of the mass congregation of bats show the animals hanging from branches

Spectacular photos of the mass congregation of bats show the animals hanging from branches 

The animals are only expected to hang around for a few weeks before they fly up to Queensland where females will give birth in May

The animals are only expected to hang around for a few weeks before they fly up to Queensland where females will give birth in May

Little red flying foxes can sometimes gather together in groups of up to 100,000

Little red flying foxes can sometimes gather together in groups of up to 100,000 

The animals are only expected to hang around for a few weeks before they fly up to Queensland where females will give birth in May.

But despite the bats putting on an amazing show, the Richmond Valley Council is flooded with complaints year after year from residents fed up with the smell, noise and the large amount of droppings left behind.

The council said this year was the first time in a while that the bats had sheltered near the Irving Bridge.

Signs have been put up around parks redirecting residents who have also been told to keep clear of the visiting bats. 

Richmond Valley Council General Manager, Vaughan Macdonald, said they were working to migrate the camp of flying foxes to the south-eastern side of the river by setting up another roosting area.

Signs have been put up around parks redirecting residents who have also been told to keep clear of the visiting bats

Signs have been put up around parks redirecting residents who have also been told to keep clear of the visiting bats

Up to 80,000 bats are believed to have setup camp in Casino over recent weeks

Up to 80,000 bats are believed to have setup camp in Casino over recent weeks

Amazing photos capture just how large the group of flying foxes that are roosting at the Richmond River in Casino is

Amazing photos capture just how large the group of flying foxes that are roosting at the Richmond River in Casino is 

Little red flying foxes are one of the most widespread species of bats in Australia

Little red flying foxes are one of the most widespread species of bats in Australia 

A pair of bats are seen huddled together while hanging from a tree branch in Casino in northern NSW

A pair of bats are seen huddled together while hanging from a tree branch in Casino in northern NSW

When day turns into night the endless stream of bats then take to the skies, flying over parks, busy streets and homes

When day turns into night the endless stream of bats then take to the skies, flying over parks, busy streets and homes

He said this would create some distance between the mass congregation of bats from businesses, homes and the local public school. 

LITTLE RED FLYING FOXES 

Little red flying foxes are the most widespread species of bats in Australia

They’re also the only species that regularly roosts in clusters

They are nomadic and their movements are based around food

They form large mating camps with some having as many as 100,000

They prefer to eat nectar but will also eat fruit and sap

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‘I appreciate those living near the flying-fox camp could be finding the noise, smell and droppings from the roosts quite difficult right now,’ Mr Macdonald said.

‘Council has been working on mitigation measures, such as tree plantings, to reduce the likelihood of the flying foxes returning to backyards since 2008, and while the trees are yet to reach full growth they are having an effect with some flying foxes spotted utilising them for roosting.’

The council manager said foliage in the trees on the other side of the river had been reduced to allow for the bats to roost there instead.  

‘It is important to remember the little reds are highly nomadic and most of them will move on again before too long,’ he said.

‘When they do move on, Council will clean up the affected parks so our community can get back to enjoying them.’

The WIRES Northern Rivers organisation said the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/2020 had had drastic impacts on the flying fox population. 

‘As we know, flying foxes are vital as pollinators of our forests; many native hardwoods only release their pollen at night and depend upon these nocturnal pollinators,’ the organisation said.

‘Flying foxes are also seed dispersers, dropping seeds across vast areas. The bats have a vital role to help the forest recovery.

‘Please be patient and tolerant of our unique wildlife. If you can, go out at dusk and watch the Little Red fly out. It’s one of the world’s natural wonders and it’s free to see!’ 

The bats hang from the tree branches during the day before flying across the skies when dusk hits

The bats hang from the tree branches during the day before flying across the skies when dusk hits

The little red flying foxes are seen sprawled out across a tree on the Richmond River in northern NSW

The little red flying foxes are seen sprawled out across a tree on the Richmond River in northern NSW

Residents have complained about the constant smell, noise and amount of droppings left behind

Residents have complained about the constant smell, noise and amount of droppings left behind

Bush walkers are seen walking under a large group of the flying foxes that have setup camp along the Richmond River in Casino

Bush walkers are seen walking under a large group of the flying foxes that have setup camp along the Richmond River in Casino

The WIRES Northern Rivers organisation said the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/2020 had had drastic impacts on the flying fox population

The WIRES Northern Rivers organisation said the Black Summer bushfires of 2019/2020 had had drastic impacts on the flying fox population

Bats are seen lining the trees along the Richmond River in Casino in northern NSW

Bats are seen lining the trees along the Richmond River in Casino in northern NSW

This post was first published on DailyMail.

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