Cairns CBD Flying-Fox Camp - Dispersal Proposal

Cairns CBD Flying-Fox Camp - Dispersal Proposal

Cairns Council is going ahead with their proposal to move the Spectacled flying-foxes from the city camp. This is to be done by chasing the flying-foxes out of the trees and not allowing them to return to roost using noise and lights between 4am and 7am (to harass the flying-foxes as they are returning from foraging at night), every morning for three to five years. 

The link to the plan is here

The plan is in public consultation period now.  The deadline is COB 5pm  on 31 January 2020. This Friday.

Basically, Cairns Council had an application (EPBC Referral 2019/8424) to disperse the bats last winter but were asked for more information before it could be assessed. Council provided this information as R07 which is a new dispersal plan superseding the previous plan in the referral. Essentially this is the next stage in the dispersal application. They propose to move the flying-foxes this winter.

Attached is a template for comments and another document with instructions and background information which explains the process of approval/ non-approval. The Commonwealth Department can refuse the application to disperse if they consider it will cause significant impact.  However, we have been informed that if Council receives a lot of comments against the dispersal, that even if it is approved by the Commonwealth, it may not go ahead. 

The more submissions the council receives against the dispersal the less likely that this will happen.

The template is in word.doc and is editable so people can add more information. Please personalise it as much as possible. You could mention the tourists who ask about the flying-foxes. The template includes a paragraph on tourism- please expand upon that with your experiences and if you like re-order the paragraphs to give tourism a greater emphasis.

People should download the template (located at the end of this document) fill it out, and save with their name, and email the finished  document  to

Council should send all comments it receives to the Commonwealth Department of Environment, but to make sure people can cc

Some of the reasons that Council may look at are:

  • Waste of ratepayer’s money as high likelihood of failure
  • No consideration of the tourism potential
  • Rationale for moving them on is flawed
  • Likelihood of significant impact on the national population
  • It in essence removes a roosting site from available roosting habitat (if it did succeed)
  • Will increase human/ flying-fox conflict.

The template and background info expands on these points.

As far as tourism is concerned, we are finding an increasing proportion of tourists to Cairns telling us they have come at least partially for the bat camp, or revisited Cairns because of the bats. The others who discover it accidentally report it as a highlight of their visit to Australia.

Here is a link to a short video that a Spanish film crew on holiday in Cairns took just a few weeks ago.

If anyone has visited the bats in Cairns they might like to fill out a tourism survey.  Below is the link to this this survey.  This is part of my research and will add to our data about the worth of bat tourism in Cairns.  

Tourist survey:

There is also a survey for local residents and businesses:  

Locals’ Survey:

Also, BatSoc will be holding a Bat Festival (supported by Cairns Council) this year around 23 May as a satellite event to EcoFiesta. As part of the promotion of the festival, we are asking Cairns cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels to consider creating a bat themed cocktail in the lead up to the festival. 

Batsoc Template Online Sff Submission Cairns Relocation Management Plan R07

Batsoc Template Instructions Sff Submission Cairns Relocation Management Plan R07

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