Up to 30,000 bats can live in the park and when the temperature is above 40 degrees, they can experience extreme heat stress. In January 2020, one of Australia’s hottest summers on record, more than 200 grey-headed flying foxes died.
To protect the vulnerable species from extreme heat events, the City of Greater Bendigo council is trialling an atmospheric cooling system comprised of a series of aerial sprinklers in the tree canopy that distribute rain-like droplets on extremely hot days. The sprinklers help bats cool down and keep trees and ferns healthy.
The system has proved successful so far, with no flying fox deaths recorded since it was installed. And, the bats are loving it too.
“Some of the bats were coming closer to where the water was coming out and spreading their wings out," Dr Kita Ashman, WWF-Australia's threatened species and climate adaptation ecologist, told ABC news.
The grey-headed flying fox is one of the largest bats in Australia with a wingspan of over one metre. They spend much of their time hanging from branches and enjoying a feast of nectar and pollen from native trees, especially gum trees.
"They help to disperse seeds and pollinate our flowering plants, so we need to think outside the box to protect them from heat events." Dr Ashman said.
The trial will continue until the end of summer next year.
Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.