Flying foxes unable to cope with the recent heat wave in Townsville. NQ Wildlife Carers’ Sharon Eastely with some juvenile bats she rescued.
Flying foxes unable to cope with the recent heat wave in Townsville. NQ Wildlife Carers’ Sharon Eastely with some juvenile bats she rescued.

“Nightmarish” scenes as bats fall from sky

HUNDREDS of flying foxes and bats are dropping dead across the Townsville region due to heat stress in "nightmarish" scenes resembling the apocalypse.

Wildlife carers in Townsville have described seeing bats fall from trees and convulsing on the ground, with rescue resources stretched to the limit.

Meanwhile in Ingham, dehydrated and exhausted bats were dropping from the skies into playgrounds, carparks and schools.

Flying foxes unable to cope with the recent heat wave in Townsville
Flying foxes unable to cope with the recent heat wave in Townsville

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said it was "End of Days vision", referencing the 1999 Arnold Schwarzenegger apocalypse fantasy thriller.

"I'm petrified, like most parents would be, these roosts are dropping on the back of playgrounds and carparks … on kids playing tennis."

The mass bat death forced the Townsville City Council to yesterday shut Dan Gleeson Memorial Park until further notice.

Dozens of carcasses remain littered under trees as the cleanup effort progresses.

NQ Wildlife Carers president Dominique Thiriet said there were a hundred bats in their care.

"I've been involved as a bat carer for years and I've never seen that [mass death] happen here," she said.

"It's nightmarish."

NQ Wildlife Carers are trying to rescue juvenile bats.
NQ Wildlife Carers are trying to rescue juvenile bats.

Similar scenes were witnessed in Cairns, where temperatures hit record highs on Monday.

NQ Wildlife Carers' Sharon Eastely has five juvenile bats in her care and said rescuers had to pluck the babies off their dead mothers.

"It's just devastating … we were grabbing bats that had dropped and put them into buckets to try and cool them but unfortunately a lot of the adult bats couldn't be saved," she said.

"They would fall so hard [from the tree] and go into a fit.

"We ended up just looking for the babies because they have a better chance of survival."

A carrier of the potentially deadly Australian Bat Lyssavirus, rescuers are fighting against the unpopularity of the animal.

Mr Dametto said his "prayers had been answered".

"We haven't been able to find a solution to the bat problem until now, and nature is doing its own cull," he said.

"Their likely diseased bodies are littering the grounds of schoolyards, footpaths and streets.

"The government now has a responsibility to help with the clean-up."

Townsville Hospital and Health Service last week reminded residents not to touch bats and to report any exposure immediately.



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