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The Top-secret Mission

It’s time to tell you about the top-secret flying fox mission. Come a bit closer to the screen so we can whisper it in writing… A flying fox’s mission is to help trees and make forests.

We know what you’re thinking. How on earth can a bat that is a bit smaller than a 30cm ruler help make a forest full of big trees?

Well, they break their mission into two parts. The first part of the mission is to help plants make seeds by pollinating their flowers. This is how it works…
Pollination. Credits: Laura Hill 2021.

They don’t just help make seeds, they also help them go places. That’s the second part of their mission and it is called seed dispersal.

Seed dispersal. Credits: Laura Hill 2021.

Trees need flying foxes and flying foxes need trees. Trees give flying foxes food and a place to live. Flying foxes help trees make seeds and spread them so they can become forests.

But why should WE care about trees and forests?

Why should we care about forests? Credits: Laura Hill 2021.

The Enemies

Habitat loss

Crimes against flying foxes

Cutting down the trees that flying foxes need to feed on and live in.
When people cut down all the trees in an area to build houses or farms, the animals who lived in that area then have nowhere to live or find food.

Picture by Laura Hill 2020

Heat Wave

 Crimes against flying foxes

Making flying foxes so hot that they die.
A heat wave is when there is really hot weather for a few days in a row. It can sometimes kill a whole colony of flying foxes in one day.

Picture by Laura Hill 2020

Barbed Wire

Crimes against flying foxes

Catching flying foxes and tearing their wings so they can’t fly.
Barbed wire is used by a lot of people on fences but it can catch and hurt a lot of animals.

Picture by Laura Hill 2020

Fruit Netting

Crimes against flying foxes

Catching flying foxes and getting them tangled up.
People put netting over fruit trees to stop animals eating their fruit. If the net has squares that are too big, the animals can get tangled up in it.

Picture by Laura Hill 2020

A big danger to flying foxes is that a lot of humans don’t understand how super they are. If flying foxes move in near their towns, people think they are too noisy, stinky and they are afraid of them. A lot of people will try to get rid of them because they think they are pests.

Will you join us on Team Flying Fox and help spread the word that flying foxes are SUPER IMPORTANT for our world?

No me = No tree

Make a warning system for a barbed wire fence

  • Make a warning string that can be hung along a barbed wire fence to warn flying foxes and other animals that there is danger ahead.
  • You will need to stick on things that the animals can see and get a bit scared of at night and during the day. Hot tip: use things that might move in the wind and shine in the moon light.
  • Hang your warning systems around your school with a sign explaining what they do so you can teach other people about the dangers of barbed wire fences. Make sure you get permission first!

Pollination game
Students get into 4 relay teams and pretend to be flying foxes. Each team has a bucket with pollen (balls) that they need to get from their flower to a flower on the opposite side of the playground to pollinate. One flying fox from each team is allowed to run at a time and needs to get back to tip the next person before they can go.
In the centre are 2 students who take the role of fruit netting and barbed wire. If the flying foxes get tipped, they become tangled up and have to link arms with barbed wire and fruit netting. They can now help tip people.
If they get tipped while carrying pollen, the pollen gets dropped to the ground and can be picked up by any team. The next person in the team can run.
To make it more challenging, when the teacher yells HEAT WAVE, all the flying foxes have to do lollypop steps because they are too hot to fly properly. The fruit netting and barbed wire can still run as normal. The heat wave ends when the teacher yells COOL WEATHER.
The winning team is the one that is best at pollination, getting the most pollen across to the second flower/bucket.
Further information visit Little Aussie Bat website.