Friday, 7 December 2018

Queensland flying fox species decimated by record heatwave

‘As far as we know, [the spectacled flying fox] has never suffered heat deaths before,’ ecologist says
Thu 29 Nov 2018 17.00 GMTLast modified on Thu 29 Nov 2018 17.02 GMT
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.
The species of flying fox affected is the spectacled flying fox, an endemic Queensland species found in north Queensland.
It’s currently listed as vulnerable under national environment laws but conservationists have been pushing to have the species up-listed to endangered because of declines in the population.
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.

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