Shocked campaigners were confronted by the sight of hundreds of dead flying foxes that were “boiled alive” during Australia’s searing hot summer.
The Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown campaign wrote on Facebook that temperatures have hit beyond 44° C in the Campbelltown district of Sydney, and that some flying foxes were still hanging from trees as they died, and that over 400 of the animals perished.
The campaign wrote:
So many little lives lost due to the extreme heat and not enough canopy cover to shade them or keep them cool. Adults sought out shade and more shelter further up the creek resulting in many babies being left behind to deal with the heat.
People who live in the area are being urged to look out for flying foxes which may be suffering heat stress and to call local wildlife rescue services.
A local wildlife rescue group advised:
If the flying-fox is on the ground and it’s a hot day, you can place a cool towel or umbrella above it until the rescuer arrives to protect it from the worst of the heat. Spraying the animal intermittently with a very light mist or setting up a sprinkler to gently wet the animal can also help.
Flying foxes are big bats that eat nectar, pollen, and fruit and, unlike smaller bats, they do not use sonar and instead, like humans, use their eyes and ears.
The Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown campaign have said, on flying foxes, that they
…are intelligent and remarkable. These unique animals help regenerate our forests and keep ecosystems healthy through pollination and seed dispersal. They are a migratory and nomadic ‘keystone’ species; meaning a species that many other species of plants and animals rely upon for their survival and wellbeing. Flying foxes, like bees, help drive biodiversity and faced with the threat of climate change, land clearing, and other human-caused ecological pressures, we need them more than ever.
Here’s hoping that we don’t lose more of these guys to the same causes in the future.
[via The Telegraph]