Australian bush fires have affected more than half a BILLION animals, cruelly and indiscriminately killing young and old. The death toll is rising by the hour. No wild animals have been spared, but for flying foxes - it could spell the end.
In 1900, there were around 20 million flying foxes in Australia - now, only 400,000 remain. We know that 4,500 grey-headed flying foxes that lived in the Yarra Bend Park, near Melbourne, died. The true figure is much, much higher.
The timing of this year’s extreme heat (it’s summer in Australia) - right after birthing season - contributed to unusually high mortality. The fires are substantially increasing the death toll. We are trying to stop an entire generation of flying foxes from being wiped out.
No one put it better than Melbourne-based photojournalist Douglas Gimesyn, quoted in the UK’s Guardian newspaper: “One (flying fox) falls, (from a tree) and the rest cascade on the ground, crushing and suffocating each other. Dozens if not hundreds of dead or dying bats are at the bottom of the tree.”
“You’re looking down at them and they’re looking up at you gasping. They’re smothering and heating up. Volunteers go in and separate out bodies and find some that are still alive. But you’ve got 20 to 30 rescuers and 4,500 bats. It’s like a war zone. It’s sad and distressing and heart-breaking, and you know it will happen again.”
Since then, the bush fires have made the situation immeasurably worse. To save the flying foxes, we have to save as many pups as possible – now is a crucial time for an entire species.
Network for Animals has teamed up with Friends of Bats and Bushcare (FOBB), a fine organization run by Lawrence Pope in Victoria to help save flying foxes. With NFA’s help, he and scores of other volunteers are caring for pups affected by the fires.
Flying foxes are intelligent and remarkable. These unique animals help regenerate forests and keep ecosystems healthy through pollination and seed dispersal. They are a migratory and nomadic 'keystone' species; meaning a species that many other species of plants and animals rely upon for their survival and well being. It’s an entire animal kingdom at stake here.
This Australian catastrophe is utterly chilling - no animal lover cannot be moved by the terrifying devastation. We have to act, and act NOW. Please donate generously. Your help is so badly needed to save a friendly, lovable animal species from being wiped from the face of the earth.
For the animals,
Brian and Gloria Davies (and Max and Flora!)
Network for Animals
P.S. The worst is not over; the coming weeks are typically the hottest time in Australia and even if the bush fires do not break out again, the high temperatures will kill countless more innocent creatures. Please help us do what we can, no, do what we MUST to help them. Please, please donate now!