Around 2000 baby grey-headed flying foxes have died after being abandoned by their mothers in the latest wildlife devastation in Australia caused by severe drought and bushfires.
“We have lost about 90 in the last three weeks,” said Hugh Pitty, an ecologist who monitors a breeding colony that forms each year from November to May in Bega in Australia. In Bateman’s Bay, they counted 100 deaths and in the Shoalhaven region, 1900 bats had died.
“The young ones have been abandoned by their mums, who don’t have enough nourishment to produce any milk,” he said, adding that drought had caused the food shortage, which became even worse when the fires started.
“That has led to them having to abandon the flying fox pups. We just find them on the ground underneath the trees in the park,” Pitty continues.
The bushfires have wiped out about half the koalas at one coastal reserve in New South Wales and ravaged about 1 million hectares of farms and bushes.
Australia’s population of the flying foxes ranges from about 450.000 to 650.000, the government estimates.
The grey-headed flying fox is one of the world’s largest bats, with a wingspan of up to a meter, and is covered in dark grey fur with an orange collar.