Little forest bat. National Parks and Wildlife
Little forest bat. National Parks and Wildlife National parks and Wildlife

Boxes better than batcave for bats

GOOD news bat stories have been few and far between lately in the wake of the hendra crisis.

While the fruit bat has been cursed throughout Queensland and north east NSW, the humble microbat, which doesn’t carry the dreaded virus, and sugar gliders have been getting the red carpet treatment in Byron Shire.

The general decline in native habitat with land-clearing, urbanisation, logging and firewood collection have been causing problems for many species across the region,

Byron Shire Council responded last year by installing nesting boxes in three bushland locations for a range of species.

It seems sugar gliders and microbats have embraced the accommodation taking up tenancy in 13 of the boxes.

Byron Shire Council’s Bush Futures officer, Angus Underwood, said results were encouraging with at least 17 sugar gliders recorded using seven different nest boxes in south Byron, while seven long-eared bats have been recorded roosting in two separate microbat nest boxes.

In north Ocean Shores five sugar gliders have been logged using four different boxes.

“It not only shows how effective nest boxes can be in providing habitat for hollow-dependent species, but it also appears there is a healthy population of sugar gliders in South Byron,” he said.

“Installing nest boxes in native vegetation where tree hollows are scarce, and at sites where bush regeneration programs are underway is a great way to enhance habitat values and support local wildlife populations.”

The council has produced a fact sheet to assist landholders and community groups who are considering installing nest boxes.

These are available from council offices in Mullumbimby or online at www.byron.nsw.gov.au/environmental-resources.



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