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Drought killing off Woodend bat colony

Debbie Melville is concerned about the lack of food available for Woodends bat colony.$JL2307SB
Debbie Melville is concerned about the lack of food available for Woodends bat colony.$JL2307SB

DROUGHT and cold weather is taking its toll on Ipswich's flying fox colonies.

Last week, Ipswich experienced its coldest July daily minimum of -4.8 degrees and the coldest week this winter.

The chilly weather has meant less flowering native plants for flying foxes to feed on and a subsequent number of dog attacks on low-flying bats.

Flying fox special advisor Debbie Melville, from Woodend's Noah's Ark Wildlife Coalition Bat Sanctuary, said young and very old bats were experiencing hard times.

"One of the local groups has said in the last 12 months they had maybe six dog attacks. In the last two weeks they've had from 10 to 20," Ms Melville said.

She said in south-east Queensland alone wildlife groups were receiving 80 to 100 calls a week from residents reporting injured bats.

"South-east Queensland is really quite bad at the moment. The cold weather is contributing but it's also the long-running drought," Ms Melville said.

"The native trees aren't flowering, aren't producing as much pollen and nectar as they would (otherwise).

"(Flying foxes) are resorting to fruits such as citrus and citrus isn't very good for them at all it's too acidic."

Ms Melville said many colonies were feeding on mandarin and orange trees which caused injuries.

"Sometimes they get quite low to the ground which makes them more susceptible to dog attack," she said.

"I've had lots of phone calls bats have been in people's backyards they're not going back to the roost trees either because they're too weak to fly to roost or they want to be the first in to whatever food source they've found the following night."

Anyone who finds a bat in their backyard are urged to call their local wildlife rescue organisation.


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