To examine the spatial and temporal patterns of association of spectacled flying-fox camps with urban areas in the main part of their Australian range.
Type of Study:
Our results indicate that spectacled flying-foxes were more likely to roost near humans than might be expected by chance, that over the period of the study the proportion of the flying-foxes in urban-associated camps increased, as did the number of urban camps. Increased urbanisation of spectacled flying-foxes was not related to changes in landscape structure or to the encroachment of urban areas on camps. Overall, camps tended to be found in areas that were more fragmented, closer to human habitation and with more urban land cover than the surrounding landscape. This suggests that urbanisation is a behavioural response rather than driven by habitat loss.
Urban vs Non-urban camps
Our results support the suggestion that flying-foxes are becoming increasingly urbanised and suggest that the conflict their presence in urban areas engenders is not going to go away. The lack of evidence for loss of habitat or roosting sites as a driver of this shift further suggests that spectacled flying-foxes are not being forced into urban areas, raising the possibility that their move is a behavioural response to the advantages offered by such locations. If this is the case then it is difficult to argue that moving problem urban camps on through the use of disturbance is likely to have any significant negative impacts on the population. Despite this, there is little evidence that past attempts to move urban camps have been successful or cost effective. We believe that this points to a need to explore new management options, particularly the identification of options that facilitate the co-existence of humans and flying-foxes. Management of the human side of the conflict is likely to prove more cost effective and successful. Identifying the actual drivers of urbanisation of flying-foxes will be significant for understanding and managing this process.
Mann-Whitney U test
Response variable :
Percentage of population occupying urban camps
Tait, J., Perotto-Baldivieso, H. L., McKeown, A., Westcott, D. A. (2014) Are flying-foxes coming to town? Urbanisation of the spectacled flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) in Australia. PLoS One. 9.Tidemann, C. R. (1999) Biology and management of the Grey-headed Flying-Fox, Pteropus poliocephalus. Acta Chiropterologica. 1, 151–164.