Cairns flying-fox dispersal: wasting money and ignoring advice

Even if you don't like bats...The Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) is opposed to the relocation of the flying-fox colony in the Cairns CBD for economic, ecological and animal welfare reasons. Cairns Regional Council is wasting money and ignoring advice in what will be a fruitless attempt to disperse the flying-fox colony in the Cairns CBD. Expert advice has identified that if the colony is sufficiently disturbed from their permanent roost at the Cairns Library, they will likely find another location in the CBD or residential areas. There is also a risk that they may head towards the Cairns airport.

The Spectacled Flying-fox is the most common species roosting in the Cairns CBD throughout the year and is listed as vulnerable under the federal government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

“At an estimated cost of $40 000, the tree trimming exercise is unlikely to result in the relocation of the colony. Council documents show that further costly action may be considered if this is unsuccessful” said Angelika Ziehrl, Director of the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC).

The trees being cut back include heritage-listed trees at the City Library.

“A 2013 report for Council details a number of problematic and costly attempts across Australia and notes that relocation has proven to require significant effort and expense, with varied outcomes.  This same report shows that if the colony does move, most potential new sites are unsuitable”.

“Other reviews have shown that in most cases the flying foxes moved less than 600 m or were likely to return to the original roost site”.

“The species is listed as vulnerable and this colony has been established for over 30 years; it is an important roost and breeding site and also a popular tourist attraction”.

“There are other solutions to the perceived nuisance of the colony, such as covered parking”.

A Queensland Health fact sheet shows risk of disease is very low.

ealth fact sheet


Media contact:

Angelika Ziehrl, Director, (07) 4032 1746,


Posted in