Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Human-wildlife conflict: Flying-foxes in the city also provide landscape scale ecosystem services     (#396)

John Martin 1 , Justin Welbergen 2 , Jessica Meade 2
  1. Science and Conservation, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  2. Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW, Australia

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is a green oasis positioned on Sydney Harbour surrounded by city skyscrapers. As an urban island the garden provides resources (habitat, water and food) to a range of fauna, including species listed as vulnerable to extinction (e.g. powerful owl, Ninox strenua; eastern bentwing-bat, Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis). By far the most well-known species associated with the garden is the grey-headed flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus), a species also listed as vulnerable. The flying-foxes currently visit the garden at night to forage, they formerly roosted in the garden but this behaviour resulted in the death of over 60 trees and palms due to defoliation and a colony dispersal was implemented under approval from the Australian Government. However, flying-foxes are essential pollinators of Australian forest species (mainly Eucalypts). For example, we fitted 50 male and 50 female flying-foxes with satellite transmitters, these animals visited over 200 colonies from Geelong in Victoria to Gladstone in Queensland over a 12-month period. This study shows that grey-headed flying-fox colonies are not static entities; rather, they are hubs in an extensive network spanning much of Australia's east coast.