The track to the northern loop remains open at this stage. The flying fox population at Cussen Park Tatura is currently estimated at around 200-250, however the population generally increases during February up until May each year.
Greater Shepparton City Council’s Manager Environment, Greg McKenzie said the closure of the loop path may be required to prevent disturbance of the camp, potentially causing the flying foxes to move to less desirable locations in town.
“It also minimises the chance of people and pets coming into direct contact with the flying foxes which carries a health risk,” Mr McKenzie said.
Flying foxes are an important part of the Australian environment and are all protected by law. The grey-headed flying fox is listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
Physical harm and attempts to relocate them are therefore not permitted without approval from relevant Government Departments.
At present the population at the camp in Cussen Park consists mainly of grey headed flying foxes. It is possible residents of Tatura and surrounding areas may hear the flying foxes at night feeding in the trees that are in blossom.
Residents are asked to observe the path closure signs when the path is closed and refrain from disturbing the flying foxes whilst they are roosting at their present site.
Greater Shepparton City Council advises residents they should not handle flying foxes as some diseases they carry, such as Australian Bat Lyssavirus, are transmissible to humans. The virus is only transmitted through being scratched or bitten by a flying fox and can be fatal.
Although it is known that many flying foxes across Australia carry the virus, instances of transmission to humans are very rare. If bitten or scratched please wash thoroughly and seek immediate medical treatment.