Setting the Standard: A Well Managed Flying-Fox Colony & Happy Human Neighbouring Community


Over 15 years working with the Grey-headed Flying-fox colony at Yarra Bend Park , we have noted several elements that appear to work for all stakeholders – including the bats and other wildlife.  

1. A local contactable authority who is “The flying fox project manager/officer” (or similar). In Yarra Bend Park, the Parks Victoria Officer is Stephen Brend who can alert wildlife carers if a bat is hanging low/on the ground and requires assistance.

2. A `Friends Of Bats' Bushcare Group' (FOBB) – These 'community conservationists' undertake tree planting ensuring that an understorey of shrubs and trees are planted so that the park remains forested in the future. Other tasks include weeding and amenity improvement, they have regularly meetings on-site, answer a lot of public questions about flying-foxes and apply for grants.

3. Permanency: This means signage and pamphlets in all-weather holders that indicate the bats are a normal and happy part of the community and here to stay. It is important that the interpretative signage is cleaned regularly so that the information is legible and that the Park's Officer's mobile number is also on the signage in case of an emergency.


The above results are in an inverted pyramid meaning: the rate of animated “community engagement” about the flying-fox colony reduces quickly. Flying-fox queries and concerns are taken by the flying-fox manager or the Friends Group. Walk/Talk tours, school slide shows can also be part of the mix. All happen at Yarra Bend Park. 

The Bellbird `node` of Yarra Bend Park (where the bats are) is closed every Total Fire Ban day. This works very well for all especially the flying-foxes who are often exhausted and low and FOBBs members who are similarly affected. 

Yarra Bend Park: Kew: Land Manager is Parks Victoria:  

The Grey headed flying fox camp attracts about 100,000 visits per year and is supported by Parks Victoria and Friends of Bats & Bushcare Inc. (FOBB) who apply for grants and do weekly works. 

It has good interpretive signage, a lookout, pamphlets, and paths. It enjoys a high level of public support. FOBB has Heat Event Protocols and a Soft Release Facility (and protocols) that it is happy to share. 

Only Yarra Bend Park has flying-fox interpretive signage and flying-fox pamphlets in place. DELWP moves are underway to supply publically accessible Victorian colonies with professional signage.

President: Lawrence Pope ; Secretary Megan Davidson 

Mob. 0419 805 062

Providing critical service is the Fly-by-Night bat clinic managed by founder Tamsyn Hogarth

Good interpretive signs, not only reduce volunteer and staff workload such as answering repetitive questions and correcting factual errors, but it also educates people on bat-basics, enhancing their understanding and enjoyment of colony life at Yarra Bend Park.

Lawrence Pope, President of Friends of Bats & Bushcare Inc., is very grateful that Parks Victoria have helped to get the new signs installed. He said that planting of more eucalypts and lillypillies will continue during the winter and spring.

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There is a lot of great work being done to protect flying foxes and their habitat, but we also need to show that these are important issues for a lot of people, and we'd love to have you onboard.

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