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Royal Botanic Gardens


Conservation benefit: Construction of interpretive signage regarding the flying fox colony at the Royal Botanic Gardens

Date Approved: 07.2000

Flying foxes are large bats with a wingspan that can exceed one meter. Food sources include pollen, nectar, and fruit from a wide variety of trees. Only one species of flying fox occurs within the Royal Botanic Gardens – the grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus). They are a protected and endangered species.

The Botanic Gardens Trust wishes to create interpretive signage that gives the visiting public a greater understanding of these flying foxes – that they are an Australian native species and they play an important role in plant pollination and seed dispersal, while also explaining some of the negative impacts of the huge numbers which have taken up residence in the Botanic Gardens 200-year-old Palm Grove.

Project Updates

July 2012

As the colony of grey-headed flying foxes grew in numbers, so did the problems the roosting bats caused. Eventually, the bats had damaged or killed so many trees in the gardens, including rare historic palm trees, that the Botanic Gardens decided it need to take action to save the remaining heritage trees. In July 2012, after public discussion and government approval, the bats were relocated.

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July 2005

Recent estimates of the population of the Grey-headed Flying Fox bat colony at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Australia (RBGSA) are approximately 8,500. In 2003, Seacology support allowed RBGSA to research, design and install two new interpretive signs explaining both the positive and negative aspects of the flying fox habitation in the Royal Botanic Gardens. In 2004, several more signs were installed and a flying fox brochure was produced.

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