Numbers of bat deaths continue to soar

MORE than a thousand flying foxes have died at Glenreagh after the extreme heatwave at the weekend.

Glenreagh residents James Ranny and Tracy Chapman started counting the fatalities.

Ms Chapman said there were 1128 dead flying foxes on the park side.

"Every single bat on this side of the river is dead,” she said.

Ms Chapman said she expected the same number in the more dense bushland over the river.

"I counted 50sq m as a sample. There were over 257 dead bats in that 50sq m,” she said.

Ms Chapman estimated more than half of the Glenreagh population had been wiped out as a result of recent heatwave.

She recorded temperatures as high as 49.1 degrees on Sunday with her home weather station.

James warned the area was a health concern to the public.

"Please refrain from going down near there, or taking children down near there until we have a secure area,” he said.

He also warned police had been notified of people killing and beating bats.

"Not only is it inhumane but it is illegal,” he said.

Mid North Coast Local Heath District issued a warning following widespread cases of flying fox deaths.

"If you find a dead, injured or distressed flying fox, do not attempt to handle it yourself. Call your local wildlife rescue service WIRES on 1300 094 737,” it warned.

Flying fox researcher Tim Pearson said flying foxes played a crucial role in pollination and seed dispersal.

He said mass deaths were becoming a concern following the recent food shortage, threatening the already vulnerable grey-headed flying foxes.

"What appears to be happening is these incidents are becoming more frequent,” he said.

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