Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance
WIRES is funding a critical 5-year project for Grey Headed Flying-Fox (GHFF) habitat rehabilitation at key breeding sites and winter foraging locations in the Bellingen and Coffs Harbour LGA’s.
This initiative aims to secure vital coastal winter food sources and rehabilitate and expand breeding and roosting habitat at nationally significant camps.
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”.
GHFF's 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
The GHFF, is listed as vulnerable to extinction and faces a number of threats to its survival, the primary threat being loss and degradation of habitat, particularly the loss of both reliable spring and winter foraging habitat and coastal roosting sites.
Mr Couper 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 plants species, threatened vegetation communities, threatened birds and threatened mammals inclusive of koalas”.
Shifting community perceptions and understanding of GHFF's is an important factor for the future of this species, and improving tolerance of GHFF's 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. Key participants in the project include Bellingen Landcare, Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare, Coffs Harbour and Districts Local Aboriginal Land Council, Bellingen Shire and Coffs Harbour City Council and community. A key element of the project also includes working with the Gumbayngirr community and with the Darrunda Wajarr land and sea ranger teams.