Friday, November 30, 2018

Queensland flying fox species decimated by record heatwave

Lisa Cox
Thu 29 Nov 2018 12.00 EST
Last modified on Thu 29 Nov 2018 12.02 EST

Thousands of threatened flying foxes have dropped dead due to heat stress brought on by extreme temperatures in far north Queensland this week.

Conservationists and wildlife volunteers estimate more than 4,000 have perished this week during the record heatwave, which has seen temperatures in Cairns reach all-time highs of 42.6C [108.7F].


Volunteer carers that have been counting dead animals and taking orphaned young into care say it is the first time the species has suffered mass deaths because of extreme heat.

“It’s never had a heat stress event before because it’s in the tropics,” said Maree Treadwell Kerr, a wildlife carer and president of the Bats and Tree Society of Cairns.


Volunteers found 3,000 dead bats and 54 live bats needing care at one site in Edmonton alone.

Wildlife carers have been overwhelmed by orphaned young and are recruiting extra volunteers as well as moving animals to centres in cities including Brisbane.

Tim Pearson, a consultant wildlife ecologist specialising in flying foxes, said more frequent and severe heatwaves were a danger for the animals.

“What’s scary about this one is the spectacled flying fox has been hit,” he said.

“As far as we know, they’ve never suffered heat deaths before.”


No comments:

Post a Comment