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What’s killing the First Street bats?

A number of bats have recently died on First Street.

At least five bats have died under the trees between the Katherine Courthouse and the NT Government Centre on First Street.

Parks and Wildlife Ranger John Burke will attend the site this afternoon but said the likely cause of the deaths was malnutrition.

“In previous years around this time of the year we have experienced the mortality of juvenile flying foxes,” he said.

“We’ve actually sent some of the carcases off for analysis at the Berrimah Vet Lab and it found they were suffering from malnutrition.”

Ranger Burke said female bats wean juvenile flying foxes off breast milk and teach them to forage and eat nectar. During this process, there are a percentage of flying foxes that died.
“When they die, they die still hanging on to the branches and it’s not until we get a windy day that they fall out of the tree and we get a lot on the ground at once,” he said.

“That’s why it appears as mass mortality event in a short period of time but it’s actually over a number of weeks when the mothers have been weaning their young.”

One of the dead bats on First Street.

​​Ranger Burke encouraged members of the public to stay away from injured or inactive flying foxes.

“The Hendra Virus hasn’t been recorded as going from flying fox direct to humans,” he said.
“It is transferred via a horse or dog so there’s not a lot of concern about that.

“The other one is Australian Bat Lyssavirus but once a flying fox has died, the virus quickly dies as well.”

Call Parks and Wildlife to report injured or dead bat sightings and they will collect them as soon as possible.

“If anyone is bitten or scratched, wash the area with soapy water and seek medical advice straight away.”

Contact Parks and Wildlife on (08) 8973 8888.


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BatsRule!: What’s killing the First Street bats?
What’s killing the First Street bats?
What’s killing the First Street bats?
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