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SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: November 29, 2018

SNIP: Thousands of threatened flying foxes have dropped dead due to heat stress brought on by extreme temperatures in far north Queensland this week.

Conservationists and wildlife volunteers estimate more than 4,000 have perished this week during the record heatwave, which has seen temperatures in Cairns reach all-time highs of 42.6C.

The species of flying fox affected is the spectacled flying fox, an endemic Queensland species found in north Queensland.

It’s currently listed as vulnerable under national environment laws but conservationists have been pushing to have the species up-listed to endangered because of declines in the population.

Volunteers found 3,000 dead bats and 54 live bats needing care at one site in Edmonton alone.

“What’s scary about this one is the spectacled flying fox has been hit,” he said. “As far as we know, they’ve never suffered heat deaths before. This is an unprecedented and shocking heat-stress event, with climate change seeing threatened species never before affected dropping by the thousands and dependent pups left motherless.”