2,000+ bats dead ‘due to heat wave’ in Casino, Australia

A baby flying fox rescued by WIRES volunteers at Casino.

A SEARING heatwave that hammered Casino with temperatures reaching 42C over Saturday and Sunday has killed more than 2000 native flying foxes, Richmond Valley Council has confirmed.

In a statement, the council said bats were falling from the trees along the bank of the Richmond River and around Hickey and Barker streets, with many more dead bats still in the trees. 

 As council officers worked to clear the bodies from the ground and the trees over the weekend, WIRES volunteers were working to save young flying foxes suffering from the high temperatures or orphaned by the heatwave.

Rural Fire Service volunteers also stepped in to help by spraying down the undergrowth around the bat colony in an effort to bring the temperature down.

However, the council is urging residents to resist the urge to personally help any live bats they find for safety reasons and general manager John Walker said parents and teachers needed to be “especially vigilant” about children approaching live bats.

Mr Walker warned the bats could bite or scratch, which carried the risk of lyssavirus.

Council officers would continue working to clear the bodies through the week, but would not be able to get all of them. Residents could expect a “quite unbearable” smell, he said.

Some of the dead animals were on private property and warned “large numbers” of dead bats in trees were “out of the reach of council crews”. Still more had fallen on inaccessible parts of the riverbank.

“Some areas along the riverbank are inaccessible and the stench from the rotting carcasses will be quite unbearable for some time yet,” Mr Walker was quoted saying in the statement.

“Whatever anyone’s opinion is either side of the bat debate, no one wishes this sort of tragedy on the bats.

“It just goes to show the extent and intensity of the heatwave we had over the weekend. Bats don’t know how to deal with the heat.”

http://tinyurl.com/n3efy4a

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