AN ark may be useful in a flood, but a canoe was what local wildlife carers needed when a heatwave killed hundreds of flying foxes.
When the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) came to the rescue, the new boat helped save hundreds of orphaned baby bats and their heat-stressed parents.
January’s record temperatures of 45 degrees resulted in the deaths of approximately 4000 juvenile flying foxes from the Bomaderry Creek colony.
After January 8 hit 45 degrees and 3000 bats died, local volunteer members of Wildlife Rescue South Coast (WRSC) were on hand on the next hot day, January 18, to help the heat stressed bats. However what turned out to be just a mission to cool down the colony, became a mission to save hundreds of exhausted individuals suffering heat stress and dehydration.
IFAW came to the support of WRSC by donating a canoe which gave rescuers access to where the bats were roosting when the heat wave hit.
The canoe was launched from the river bank as volunteers scanned the banks for the ever increasing numbers of distressed animals. Those showing significant signs of stress were collected and transported back to the release cage for intensive rehydration and care.
The flying foxes showing signs of significant stress were transferred to a temporary cage for intensive care and rehydration, and then back to the Shoalhaven Bat Clinic run by WRSC carer Gerry Hawkins and her team of volunteers.
The team had hundreds of flying foxes in care requiring support, feeding and cleaning, health monitoring and ultimately release.
Six weeks later and the flying foxes are gradually being released as they recover.