Heatwave in North Queensland destroys Bat Colonies - please help! 🎥
Our contributor David shares a devastating, saddening story unfolding in North Queensland/Australia due to the extreme heatwave. Read his harrowing story and please help if you can and/or re-share! (Donation details at the bottom)
"As we face a sweltering heatwave and local school PE classes are cancelled, many head to the creek, pool or airconditioned places to cool down, there’s no denying we are sweating and this is some hot weather in Queensland, especially in the North.
But how does our wildlife cope as temperatures soar? Like us Flying foxes struggle in the heat, and today I witnessed this first hand as I went to try and help the wildlife group in Cairns. But there’s nothing really that can quite prepare you for the impacts of a heat wave on a flying fox colony. The harrowing devastating vision that awaits you of mass mortality, the thick sickening stench of death in the air, the piercing screaming sounds of babies grasping desperately to their lifeless mums, the hopeless last failing flaps of "teddies" on the ground as their internal organs fail, the continous dull thud as dead bodies fall around you, the weary glazed eyes of already exhausted carers that are picking up dead bodies by the wheelbarrow full and searching for life.
I pick up a flying fox as she falls at my feet, she’s still alive, her long tongue hangs out and she stretches it to lick her young baby and then dies, her baby is inconsolable, screaming and moments later she too dies, in my hands. I look around at the bodies everywhere, those that are alive still hanging barely move. There’s none of the usual chattering and bickering and flapping around just the soft fans of wings and the desperate cries of babies and the eerie thuds. A carer tries to syringe water into mouths of babies and near her the heaped piles of dead bats grows and grows....
Some of you may think why should we care if flying-foxes are dying – there are too many of them anyway right, I see them everywhere. Well these animals are unique flying mammals, they are long distant seed dispersers, are key stone species, have a complex social system, only one baby a year and are loving mums, they have more than 26 different sounds, are super smart, long lived, affectionate and incredibly beautiful and their population is already in decline.
They suffer from our urban expansion, habitat loss and loss of food, impacts of pollution, pesticides, electrocution, barb wire, illegal shooting and climate change. If this is what climate change looks like it is absolutely unbearable and overwhelming. I take home some more orphans I pick them up from one lady, she already has 200 bats in her living room and another woman has 65 with no more carers available. What these wildlife carers are doing is beyond commendable, but they are looking after bats not puppies, kittens or kangaroos and they have little public support with no hero thanks for them.
Remember: Do not touch a bat unless vaccinated!
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