Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance and WIRES support the Grey-headed Flying-fox

Re-educating ourselves to ‘feel the love’ for the Grey-headed Flying-fox who works diligently for the environment while we sleep. Photo: Vivien Jones.

JALIIGIRR Biodiversity Alliance is beginning a five-year initiative funded by wildlife rescue organisation WIRES for Grey-headed Flying-fox (GHFF) habitat rehabilitation at key breeding sites and winter foraging habitat in the Bellingen and Coffs Harbour LGAs.

This initiative aims to secure vital coastal winter food sources and rehabilitate and expand breeding and roosting habitat at maternal (and nationally significant) camps across both LGAs.

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Jaliigirr project manager Justin Couper said, “The Grey-headed Flying-fox is the most misunderstood and maligned mammal in the Australian landscape.

“This is primarily due to GHFF taking up residence or camps in urban areas in response to a warming climate and the destruction of their preferred habitat elsewhere.”

Listed as vulnerable, Grey-headed Flying-foxes are highly mobile and play a vital role in plant pollination, seed dispersal and gene flow in Australia’s ecosystems, feeding on the nectar and pollen of eucalypts, melaleucas and banksias and on the fruits of rainforest trees, shrubs and vines.

Facing a number of threats to its survival, the primary one is loss and degradation of habitat, particularly the loss of both reliable spring and winter forage habitat and coastal roosting sites.

Justin said, “While most of us are sleeping, this Aussie champion is busily pollinating our native trees and shrubs, increasing genetic diversity, and boosting the resilience of our forest.

“If we protect and rehabilitate habitat for the GHFF we are protecting many threatened plant species, threatened vegetation communities, threatened birds and threatened mammals inclusive of koalas.”

Shifting the community’s perception and educating people to understand the Grey-headed Flying-fox’s positive contribution to nature is an important factor for the survival of this species.

“Improving tolerance of GHFF through ongoing community education and outreach initiatives are key actions.

“As a component of this project, Jaliigirr will work with partner organisations to conduct a broad education and social media campaign on the importance of Grey-headed Flying-foxes in the health and function of our vegetated ecosystems.”

Importantly the project includes working with the Gumbaynggirr community and with the Darrunda Wajarr land and sea ranger teams.

Other key participants include Bellingen Landcare, Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare, Coffs Harbour and Districts Local Aboriginal Land Council, Bellingen Shire and Coffs Harbour City Council and community.

Jaliigirr wishes to thank WIRES for its support for such an important initiative.


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