Fears for bats as Southeast set to swelter

 

BAT rescue groups are on high-alert this weekend as sweltering conditions fuel concerns of a mass flying fox die-off.

The nocturnal mammals are particularly prone to heat stress, with many dropping from trees during prolonged exposure to temperatures above 38C.

Much of inland Queensland has been suffering through record-breaking temps, with Ipswich forecast to hit 38C on Friday and then 41C on Sunday. Coastal winds will keep temperatures in Brisbane more moderate.

Among regions understood to be bracing for potentially heat-stressed roosts is Moreton Bay Council, West Ipswich, Kilcoy, Somerset and Lockyer Valley areas and areas west of Brisbane.

Close up of a young grey headed flying fox hanging in a tree and looking at camera
Close up of a young grey headed flying fox hanging in a tree and looking at camera

Amid the heatwave, bat rescue groups across the state are preparing to step in to save any populations suffering from heat stress.

"We're preparing for Saturday and Sunday, and how we respond is very carefully planned," Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland president Mel Brennan said.

"We have equipment and procedures in place should they be needed," Ms Brennan said.

Members of her crew are vaccinated against Lyssavirus, which can cause rabies.

The threat of viruses from bats has also prompted a warning from the Department of Environment and Science.

The red and blue dots show bat colonies. Picture: QPWS.
The red and blue dots show bat colonies. Picture: QPWS.

"Anyone who receives a bite or scratch from a flying fox should seek immediate medical advice," a DES spokesman said.

"Heat-stress events generally take place in flying fox roosts when the temperature exceeds 38°C," the spokesman said.

"The risks of mass die-offs increase significantly when daily temperatures exceed 42°C for prolonged periods."

"This can lead to the animals collapsing in and falling from roost trees in large numbers."

Anyone who comes across a distressed bat or other animal is advised to call the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL.

Originally published as Fears for bats as Southeast set to swelter

BOM showing heatwave conditions will affect the vast majority of Queensland over the coming weekend. Picture: BOM Qld.
BOM showing heatwave conditions will affect the vast majority of Queensland over the coming weekend. Picture: BOM Qld.

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