Mar 17, 2017

Australia's unique wildlife among victims of 'angry summer'

Sydney NSW 2000
Australia
by
Sian Powell
,
Nikkei Asian Review
An Australian flying fox about to drop off a branch due to heat exhaustion in Australia's "angry summer." Photo: AJ Caruana, courtesy of WIRES
An Australian flying fox about to drop off a branch due to heat exhaustion in Australia's "angry summer." Photo: AJ Caruana, courtesy of WIRES

Record-breaking summer heat waves in recent months have left Australians sweating and uncomfortable and killed thousands of animals, graphically illustrating the dangers posed to the world's driest inhabited continent by climate change.

With temperatures topping 42C along the country's eastern seaboard, thousands of indigenous flying foxes in months have been dropping out of their trees, dead or severely distressed. In Queensland, Loggerhead turtle hatchlings have been cooked in their shells while trying to reach the ocean across ferociously hot sand.

Wild animals ranging from possums to snakes were forced into aberrant behavior along the New South Wales coast in search of refuge from the heat inside houses and garages. Koalas came down from their perches in eucalypt trees to find water.