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Flying Fox Cams Reveal Night Time Escapades

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Flying foxes are extremely valuable to the environment, so it’s important to study the health of the population and their whereabouts. To answer the questions of where they go and what they feed on at night, a wearable, nighttime camera was needed.

TRANSCRIPT

- [Narrator] Time for the all-important reveal of what this flying fox is going to feed on.

- [Man 1] It looks like of some description from there.

- [Man 2] It would be easy to get that identified.

- Yeah. - I think so.

- [Narrator] It's a South Australian blue gum, a different variety to the usual east coast food.

This eucalyptus is an Adelaide native.

It's an encouraging sign that the flying foxes aren't targeting crops and have instead adapted to a local species.

- This close proximity to feeding, we've never seen this sort of thing before.

- It's reassuring to know that this flying fox hasn't gone into any commercial fruit.

- [Narrator] And we quickly learn that flying foxes don't spend time in one place for very long.

- (laughs) That sounds incredible.

(wind whooshing) (flying fox squeals) - [Narrator] After a short flight, a new tree is selected and the flying fox announces its arrival.

- So, this is really interesting.

It looks like they're going from, just in a few minutes, they've gone through three or four different feeding sites, which is nothing that you've ever seen before.

We just think they're going into one area and probably stay in a tree for a period of time, but it looks like they're flying around every minute or two to find some food.

- [Narrator] And it's off again.

And this time we're in a different tree species.

It is technically a fruit tree, a Port Jackson fig, but this is not a food crop.

It's an ornamental tree commonly found in gardens and civic centers.

A short flight later, it's back in a native blue gum.

- This is a surprising thing.

I think just how quickly they're moving and eating blossom to blossom.

- But they clearly eating it really quickly and moving on.

- [Narrator] And even though they can fly tens of miles a night, this flying fox has chosen to stay close to the city.

And his back mounted camera provides a great aerial perspective.

- (laughs) So he's going over there.

He's going over the road.

Oh, amazing, this is extraordinary.

- So that's a car park.

I'm sure, like you said, that will be really interested to know where it is.

- [Narrator] With ornamental trees to feed on in the heart of the city, this flying fox doesn't need to go far.

(flying fox squeals) By first light, the filming flying foxes are back in the roost, hanging alongside their neighbors.

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