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The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust flying-fox relocation program has been approved by both Federal and State governments after a long consultation process that took into account scientific and animal welfare considerations. It is a humane and safe program that will give the Garden a chance to recover.
The relocation is expected to take several weeks and must be undertaken between May and July. It will involve intermittent recorded noise being played within the central areas of the Garden to disturb the flying-foxes. The noise disturbance will be limited to 75 minutes within a 24-hour period, including up to 45 minutes before dawn and up to 30 minutes around sunset.
The flying-foxes roost in the Garden during the day and feed on fruit and pollen and nectar from flowers at night, flying up to 35 km to find suitable food. The program is not expected to change the flying-fox feeding habits and they will still be able to feed at the Garden following the relocation.
Over the past 20 years, flying-fox roosting activities have caused extensive damage to valuable heritage trees in the Royal Botanic Garden, with more than 28 trees and 30 palms already lost and several hundred more trees and plants damaged, 60 critically.
The strict approval conditions require that the flying-foxes relocate to suitable locations away from homes. If they settle in unacceptable locations, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust is committed to moving them on from there, in consultation with the landowner, using the same noise disturbance method approved for use in the Garden.
The relocation program has also involved the most comprehensive research, monitoring and scientific study believed to have ever been undertaken on the species. The research is expected to contribute to the long-term conservation of flying foxes and includes monitoring of the condition of the flying-foxes within the Garden colony and the movements of banded and satellite-tagged animals.
Monitoring conducted over the past two years has shown that flying-foxes move readily between existing colonies across Sydney and they are most likely to relocate to areas they are familiar with.
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