More flying foxes are colonising urban areas, leading to a cascade of negative events, including poor health of bats, nuisance to human communities and spread of Hendra virus spillover to horses.
An international team of researchers have been awarded a $2.2 million US National Science Foundation grant to study how humans are contributing to emerging infectious diseases passing from animals to people.
They aim to identify the underlying causes of flying fox urbanisation and commence a long-term habitat restoration project to reverse some of these trends.
The Griffith University team, led by Dr Alison Peel and involving Professor Hamish McCallum and PhD student Tamika Lunn, are leading the field components of the research.
“Changes in climate, combined with deforestation of winter habitat of flying foxes, creates periodic food shortages which sends the bats flying into towns and cities looking for food,” said Dr Peel, a veterinary disease ecologist.
“Many people think flying foxes are increasing

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