Flying foxes return to park

THE Eureka Wildlife Shelter released four flying foxes into Rosalind Park last week after saving them from extreme heat during the summer.

The flying foxes were in the shelter's care for about seven weeks before being released.

Eureka's Wildlife Shelter's Stephen Boyes said staff were hoping to release six but two refused to go.

"They were the two girls but we will keep them for two more weeks and try again," he said.

Mr Boyes said weather conditions were ideal for the flying foxes after a dry summer.

"It's warm and muggy and a bit more suited to them," he said.

"It was a good thing we were able to save some. It's better than nothing."

Mr Boyes estimated there were about 4000 flying foxes in Bendigo compared to about 30,000 when they arrived about five years ago.

He said the Department of Environment and Primary Industries had tracked some of the animals and found they flew as far as Geelong and back in a night for food.

"(Bendigo) is their central hub and go out to source food and come back to settle," Mr Boyes said.

"People don't notice how smart they are."

Mr Boyes said if people learned about the flying foxes they wouldn't have as much fear about them.

"There is still that stigma about them but it is all about educating the people," he said.

Mr Boyes said flying foxes were social animals who had a better chance if they were released together.

Wildlife shelter releases animals

Volunteers from Bendigo's Wildlife Rescue and Information Network and department officials worked in Rosalind Park in January to rehabilitate an "alarming" number of flying foxes. 

The department's senior compliance officer Brady Childs said the flying foxes were not acclimatised to the prolonged period of heat.

"Trained and experienced carers will remove heat stressed and injured flying foxes, which will then be placed with trained wildlife rehabilitators," he said at the time.

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