Heatwave Wipes Out 23,000 Spectacled Flying Foxes in Australia

A heatwave in Australia killed more than 23,000 spectacled flying foxes, almost one third of the population in Australia.

The die-offs were from colonies in the Far North Queensland area where the mercury soared past 100 f (42 c) two days in a row, breaking the previous record temperature for November in the area.

It is the second largest mass die off of flying foxes recorded in Australia. The biggest was in south-east Queensland in 2014 when almost 50,000 animals, predominantly black flying foxes died.

Flying foxes dropped dead from roosting trees during the heatwave, the mass die off was so bad some residents were forced out of their houses because of the smell of thousands of rotting carcasses.

Climate change impacts on bats are highly visible given they often roost in urban areas. Making flying foxes Australia’s canaries in the coal mine.



Photo: “Grey headed Flying fox” by Duncan PJ is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0