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Bat dispersal statistics

The Australasian Bat Society (ABS), which “does not generally support dispersal attempts”, has compiled a fact sheet regarding 17 flying-fox dispersals in Australia. The ABS states on its website – – that dispersals are “rarely successful in resolving conflict and the impacts on the animals are unknown”. The ABS’s referenced study found that “although dispersals sometimes caused animals to move from the original camp, in all cases dispersed animals did not abandon the local area” and that in “16 of the 17 cases … dispersals did not reduce the number of flying-foxes in the local area”. “Dispersed animals generally formed new camps located close to the original site (64 per cent within 600m; 91 per cent within 2 km) and the close proximity of new camps typically resulted in ongoing conflict within the local community.” Predetermining where new replacement camps would form was “not possible” and new sites “often proved to be as – or more – controversial”. In 12 of the 17 cases, “conflict persisted at the original site or at the replacement camps after the initial dispersal actions” and “repeat actions were required to keep animals from returning to the original site”, often over months or years. “The financial costs of dispersal attempts were high, ranging from tens of thousands of dollars for vegetation removal to hundreds of thousands for active dispersals (e.g. using noise, smoke etc),” the report’s summary states. “The few exceptions to these patterns, occurred when abundant financial and human resources allowed ongoing, daily actions to take place over months to years (e.g. Melbourne and Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG)); when the animals moved to favourable habitat nearby (e.g. Batchelor, NT) and/or when habitat links allowed animals to be directed to an acceptable location (e.g. RBG Melbourne).” The report defines a local area as within a 20km radius of the original site, which is the typical flying-fox feeding area. The ABS is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to promote the conservation and study of bats in Australasia.