Wildlife carers have set up a makeshift ‘triage’ to care for dozens of ‘potentially dangerous’ bats that have fallen from trees amid a sweltering tropical heat wave.
The hospital was set up this week in Murray Street Park in Manoora, Cairns, in far north Queensland, after nearly 200 flying foxes were found dead.
FNQ Wildlife Carers Amanda Milligan and Jessie Smart set up the makeshift triage to provide first aid to heat-affected bats and clean up the dead.
Wildlife carers have set up a makeshift ‘triage’ to care for dozens of ‘potentially dangerous’ bats that have fallen from trees amid a sweltering tropical heat wave
Ms Milligan, who has lived in the local area for more than two decades, told Cairns Post she has never seen so many bats affected by soaring temperatures.
‘As soon as it hit more than 40C, we had bats falling from the trees,’ Ms Milligan said.
‘Here (in Murray St) we had 140 dead on Monday and we’ve got another 40 today.’
Bats have been reportedly been dropping in colonies found in Cairns, Edmonton, Gordonvale, and Townsville.
In a video posted on the NQ Wildlife Care Facebook page, shocking footage shows the alarming number of bats that have already succumbed to the heat.
The dead flying foxes are seen motionless lined up along the grassy footpath and around several trees in the park.
One of the wildlife carers said in the video that many pups have been orphaned after their mothers died as a result of extreme heat conditions.
The two carers, who are calling for assistance from other wildlife volunteers, have been spritzing fallen bats with water and administering glucose injections.
The hospital was set up this week in Murray Street Park in Manoora, Cairns, in far north Queensland, after an overwhelming number of flying foxes were found dead
Ms Milligan said they would greatly appreciate any help at the makeshift hospital – either to treat the sick bats or to help clear up and count the dead.
Health authorities have urged locals to not go near sick or injured bats and to contact professionals after several people were bitten or scratched.
Tropical Public Health Services Cairns director Dr Richard Gair said the majority of the injuries took place at the Cairns City Library bat colony.
Dr Gair said the bats were reportedly flying into people and injuring them, rather then biting people who were attempting to pick them up.
FNQ Wildlife Carers Amanda Milligan and Jessie Smart set up the makeshift triage to provide first aid to heat affected bats and clean up the dead
The health professional said the bats may also be infected with the ‘potentially dangerous’ Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV).
‘ABLV is an infection like rabies, which can be transmitted through a bat bite or scratch, or possibly through exposure of the eyes, nose or mouth to bat saliva,’ Dr Gair said.
In the NQ Wildlife Care video, the carer urged anyone who finds a sick or injured flying fox to get in contact with the organisation so they can adequately rehab them.