Australia’s heatwave has had a massive impact on the wildlife, with a local animal charity group reporting that over 200 flying fox bats have died in the heat. The temperatures have risen to 111.5 degrees Fahrenheit (44.2 degrees Celsius) in the town of Campbelltown in New South Wales, where volunteers have tried to rescue as many bats as possible from the local colony.
On the Help Save Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown Facebook page, they reported details of the situation and saying that over 200 bats have died as a result of the heatwave. The colony of flying foxes live near the local train station and in extreme heat such as this, the bats lose their ability to regulate their temperature, their brain cannot handle the heat and they become incoherent; the lack of shade and access to water have been contributing factors to the loss of so many bats.
Other animals are being massively affected by the heatwave, with koalas struggling to find hydration in their usual food source of eucalyptus leaves. The Koala Clancy Foundation based in Melbourne have given advice to people on how to help the koalas by promoting a technique of spraying koalas from a distance with silent hoses as to not spook them.
Climate change is the reason behind such high temperatures, as the country’s surface and ocean temperatures has risen by 1 degree since 1910, and rainfall has decreased by 19 per cent since 1970. Heatwaves have increased in frequency and intensity according to the State of the Climate report from 2016. Temperatures have been so high that asphalt has melted and people are heading to more coastal locations to avoid heat stroke where inland temperatures are typically higher.
To help the local wildlife during this heatwave Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service has an information sheet on how to identify heat exhaustion in different animals and how to help, which you can find here.