Australia Concerns for health of flying foxes caught in fireworks after Adelaide car race

05:30  29 november  2021
05:30  29 november  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Flying foxes can be seen dispersing as the fireworks explode. (Supplied: Shaun Scheepers) © Provided by ABC NEWS Flying foxes can be seen dispersing as the fireworks explode. (Supplied: Shaun Scheepers)

An Adelaide vet who filmed a large group of flying foxes being startled by event fireworks has questioned the timing of the light show, which coincided with feeding time.

Vet Shaun Scheepers filmed the grey-headed flying foxes dispersing as fireworks from the Adelaide Rally were sent up about 8:30pm last night in Rymill Park.

The flying foxes live in Botanic Park and leave their trees to find fruit in Adelaide's suburbs at sunset.

Yesterday was the last of four days of the Adelaide Rally, a car race through the Adelaide Hills.

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Dr Scheepers, who lives in Kent Town, said having the fireworks display at the same time as the bats leave Botanic Park to find food was "insensitive".

"You could actually see the bats dispersing, moving away from the noise," he said.

"It must have been a very loud noise for them to be affected by.

"It would certainly affect their navigation — they could have waited an hour."

Grey-headed flying foxes are not native to South Australia, but have lived in the Adelaide Parklands for about 10 years, flying in from the eastern states in search of food.

They suffer in Adelaide's summer heat and can carry lyssavirus.

Bats learn to avoid loud noises

Two organisations look after injured or sick bats — Fauna Rescue SA and Bat Rescue SA.

Both said they had not received calls today about injured or disoriented bats.

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Fauna Rescue carer Katrina Boardman said the flying foxes generally left their roosts about 7:45pm–8pm so fireworks at 8:30pm would have been in "the thick of it".

She said flying foxes were good at avoiding loud noises like from fireworks.

"They just tend to avoid them," she said.

"It's amazing how flying foxes will adapt to the city they live in."

Bat Rescue coordinator Sue Westover said they seemed to be OK after the fireworks.

"They seem to cope pretty well with that sort of thing," she said.

Event organiser not aware of issue

Adelaide Rally event director Tim Possingham said he was not aware of any issues with flying foxes being disturbed by fireworks.

He said the event was "very, very popular", attracting about 400 entries.

Eight of the top 10 placing cars were from interstate, just days after South Australia's borders opened to NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

"We're happy," Mr Possingham said.

"We had about 7,000 people in the East End that went through the site so really very, very happy with that and the economic benefits for the precinct," he said.

The event is part of the springtime Bloom festival.

SafeWork SA approves fireworks displays.

It has been contacted for comment.

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This is interesting!