Parramatta North Grey-headed Flying-fox Camp
The Grey-headed Flying-fox is one of the world’s largest bats with a breeding camp located on the banks of Parramatta River, with part of the camp located within the northern section of Parramatta Park. It is the only threatened animal species recorded within the Park, having been first noted by early colonists along Parramatta River in 1798.
Flying-foxes are intelligent animals that have an important role to play in the good health and regeneration of our natural vegetation. They pollinate native plants and spread seeds as they move around searching for food. The Grey-headed Flying-fox is considered a ‘keystone species’ vital for the long-term health of plants, particularly gum trees, and is protected under state and federal legislation.
It is the responsibility of Parramatta Park Trust (the Trust), together with the neighbouring landowners (where the rest of the camp is located), to protect the Parramatta Park flying-fox camp. A Camp Management Plan was prepared in 2020 to look at ways to protect the flying foxes while minimising impact to the community. The plan was developed alongside the Trust, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (then Office of Environment and Heritage), Parramatta Council, Urban Growth NSW, and wildlife carers.
Flying-fox Heat Stress Cooling System
The Trust has installed a canopy sprinkler system in the trees of the flying-fox camp as part of a trial to see if it can help relieve heat stress during extremely hot temperatures.
Being close to Parramatta River, the irrigation system uses the Park’s natural surrounds to cool the canopy by pumping water from Parramatta River, up the trees and into the sprinklers. The sprinklers have been designed to mimic a summer rainstorm.
Parramatta Park Trust received $30,000 in grant funding from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Saving our Species program to install a canopy sprinkler system.
WIRES volunteers will operate the sprinklers and can switch them on via an app on their phones. They will monitor the camp during known heat stress events and may activate the sprinklers when temperatures reach 42 degrees.
WIRES North West branch manage the camp on behalf of the Trust as the primary carers and take action to provide animal care on hot days under a Heat Stress Management Plan they have prepared for this camp.