(ANTIMEDIA) Australia — As those on the East Coast of the United States begin to breathe a little easier following a powerful winter storm this week, many on the other side of the world are battling through an altogether different type of weather situation.
Over the weekend, Sydney, the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales, became the hottest location on planet Earth. The city has been gripped by a devastating heatwave, and on Sunday the temperature rose to over 117 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sadly, the heat proved too much for some of Sydney’s more vulnerable residents. In the suburb of Campbelltown, where the temperature reached nearly 112 degrees, hundreds of bats, mostly babies, were essentially “boiled alive” despite the efforts of wildlife rescue workers.
“I don’t know how many times I bent down and got on my knees to pick up a dead baby,” Kate Ryan, who manages the colony of flying fox bats, told the Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser. “There were dead bodies everywhere.”
Ryan was among several volunteers who descended on the location, where bats were either falling dead to the ground or perishing where they hung in the trees.
“They basically boil,” Ryan said. “It affects their brain — their brain just fries and they become incoherent. It would be like standing in the middle of a sandpit with no shade.”
A Facebook post from WIRES, Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization, conveyed the feeling on the ground as workers raced to save as many animals as they could:
“The efforts of our volunteers yesterday was both heroic and heartbreaking. In extremely trying conditions they worked tirelessly to provide sub-cutaneous fluids to the pups that could be reached and many lives were saved but sadly many were lost too.”
Heat stress sadly claimed the lives of many hundreds of young flying-foxes at Campbelltown yesterday afternoon & the…
The post adds that the final death count for the Campbelltown flying fox bat colony “could run to thousands” before all is said and done.