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Byron Shire
December 1, 2021

Bats, ‘the canary in Australia’s coalmine’

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Little red flying fox. Photo contributed
Little red flying fox. Photo contributed

Wildlife Carers are preparing for another devastating bat die off this summer by launching a guide to management of Flying-fox heat stress events in the Tweed Valley.

Jan Pilgrim, author of the guide, said ‘Bats are literally falling from the sky as global warming sets new record temperatures each year. This guide is a resource for people who want to save our bats, which are the chief pollinators and seed dispersers for the bush and many commercial crops.’

Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers will attend the World Climate Rally being held in Murwillumbah at Knox Park on November 28 to sign up volunteers who would like to help at a bat heat event n the Tweed Rally.

The volunteers will be able to join up on a temporary basis to help the carers as they battle to save the bats.

The World Climate Rally coincides with rallies around Australia and the world. The rallies are urging stronger action at the United Nations summit in Paris where new targets will be set for reducing greenhouse emissions.

Greg Reid, an organiser for the rally said, ‘Like the canary in in a coalmine, mass deaths of bats from heat stress are a warning that we are dangerously changing the climate. We must head that warning now because each day we ignore it we lock in far worse to come.’

Over 180 community groups are coordinating climate rallies around Australia. In Murwillumbah, the rally will be at noon and will be a venue for stalls and bands.

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  1. Bit of an issue with the picture here. That is a grey-headed flying fox. Little reds aren’t really affected by heat waves. Black flying foxes are the most affected, grey-headed to a lesser degree.

  2. Interesting article, and kudos to the Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers for their innovative work in preparing for these (sadly inevitable) heat stress events. The picture is fitting (even though it is a Grey-headed Flying-fox, not a Little Red) a the GHFF is a threatened species, and we have lost tens of thousands of these wonderful, intriguing, inquisitive little creatures over the past few years to heat stress events.

    These heat stress events have been recorded as early as the 1700s, but it appears that they are becoming far more common. We have already lost a large percentage of Grey-headed flying foxes over the last century due to habitat loss, shooting (legal and illegal) barbed wire and sub-standard fruit-tree netting. So wonderful to see Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers putting aside all the myths and caring for these precious animals for the important native species they are.

  3. What an invaluable service these tireless wildlife Carers provide – for our agriculture, environment and species protection. What would our world look like without them??
    Please visit the climate rally at Knox park Murwillumbah this Sat 28th and offer a hand at the Wildlife Carers stall for the upcoming bat drop events.
    We should all be helping if we can – the health of our bats effects all of us whether we re aware of it or not…

  4. re only black flying foxes affected with heat ….last years heat events in se qld in Jan and again in November we lost all three species to 40 degree plus temps Jan we lost more greys but also blacks along with little reds November we lost more blacks but the first to go down at the camp I was monitoring were the little reds


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