Thursday, January 14, 2010

Overheated Animals Fall Out of Trees

A grey headed flying fox at the Wildlife Victoria Centre. Photo: Rebecca Hallas via theage

Reprinted from theage:

Melbourne's heatwave this week killed about 700 flying foxes and affected many more native animals.

Wildlife carers rescued hundreds of possums and birds across Melbourne while many died before they could be rehydrated and taken into care.

A colony of endangered grey-headed flying foxes at Yarra Bend was devastated by the heat and many had dropped from the trees, said Denise Garratt, president of Help for Wildlife.

Joanne Ainley, of the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, processed the dead bats yesterday and said about 700 had died in the heat.

Wildlife Victoria received 264 calls to its rescue hotline by midday on Tuesday. It was the busiest morning on record other than during the bushfires, said Aisha Reynolds of Wildlife Victoria. There were 349 calls on the day, 100 more than average.

The group set up a triage unit at its Brunswick Street facility to cope with the number of injured animals.

At the South Oakleigh shelter, which normally receives one or two animals a day, Michele Phillips said more than 50 came in. ''The possums just fall out of trees in this weather,'' she said.

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