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 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 the Parramatta River in 1798.
Many Australian native trees depend on these bats for long-distance pollination and seed dispersal and the Flying-fox is considered a ‘keystone species’ vital for the long-term health of plants, particularly gum trees.
Parramatta Park Trust (Trust), with the neighbouring landowners where the rest of the camp is located, have a responsibility to protect the Parramatta Park bat camp as the grey‐headed flying fox is a vulnerable species under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) as well as the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
A Camp Management Plan to look at ways to protect the bats while minimising impact to the community was prepared earlier this year. 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 received $30,000 in grant funding from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to install a trial heat stress cooling system for the Parramatta North Grey-headed flying fox camp on Parramatta River.
An irrigation system drawing water from the river and designed to mimic rainfall will be installed within the camp area to assist with cooling the bats down in extreme heat events during summer. This will be used when bats are suffering heat stress, usually when temperatures are above 42 degrees for more than a day. This irrigation system is anticipated to be installed in February 2021, subject to appropriate approvals.
In the meantime, if there are extreme heat events prior to the installation of the irrigation system, the Trust has on standby a portable firefighting pump and spray system that will have the same effect as the proposed irrigation system and will be used to assist with cooling the bats down if required.
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 that they have prepared for this camp.