Birds falling ‘dead’ from trees in heat
Upsetting photos have emerged showing native wildlife struggling through severe heat and bushfire conditions over the weekend.
After Victoria sweltered through one of its hottest days on record, cockatoos were "falling dead from the trees" in photos shared on Twitter.
"The thermometer under the back veranda got to 48.9C today, not an official reading obviously, but it was enough to kill these sulphur-crested cockatoos," Bill Wallace wrote on Twitter on Friday, sharing the shocking images of the dead cockatoos.
"I've never seen that before," one shocked commenter said.
"Witnessed (this) at St George Queensland in 1988, tragic as they were simply falling out of the trees," another said.
Other social media users shared photos of animals stressed in the heat over the weekend, including another bird that had fallen dead from its tree in inner-west Sydney on Saturday, as temperatures reached 36 degrees in the city.
Found this frogmouth dead on a footpath beneath a fig tree in Five Dock, NSW, today. No sign of injury from predators. Looks like it just fell dead out of the tree. pic.twitter.com/3Pg72bwSxJ— Andrew Mamo (@AndrewMamo) December 21, 2019
Distressing images of a burnt greater glider were also shared by animal rescue group WIRES.
The greater glider, which is a vulnerable and threatened species, was injured and carrying a joey. It was found on a walking track in Meroo Head National Park, near Ulladulla. The park is currently closed due to the Currowan fire.
Flying fox populations were also affected as fires raged in the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven regions.
Native Wildlife Rescue, a non-profit organisation that helps rehabilitate native animals, helped to rescue more than 100 baby grey-headed flying foxes on Sunday. The day before, the group had already taken in more than 140 flying foxes.
"Devastatingly, for many Flying Fox mothers and their babies help came too late," the Native Wildlife Rescue wrote in a post on Facebook.
Some 2000 koalas are believed to have died over the course of this bushfire season so far, according to wildlife experts. The extraordinary numbers come after important habitats were destroyed in bushfires on the NSW mid north coast in November.
The ongoing devastation has led to an outpouring of compassion from Aussies and the international community, with people donating in record numbers to animal welfare charities, firefighters and communities affected by the ongoing bushfire crisis.
A campaign to assist the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has now raised in excess of $2.09 million dollars to assist in their campaign to "help thirsty koalas". The koala hospital smashed their original goal of $25,000, and broke the fundraising record for website GoFundMe.