Sprinkler Systems for Flying Foxes

So far the irrigation systems for Bats that have been trialed in the City of Yarra have been really successful, the local bats are just loving it, as you can see in this clip. It's critical for these beautiful animals to survive that we all take a step towards protecting them. They're threatened and they need our help. So we've put together somes useful points on how and why we need to take action:

  • It only takes a small amount of water for short periods, during the summer. Water source can be a river, a dam or nearby tap from town water.
  • Because flying-foxes are listed as threatened species, we are legally responsible to care, particularly if we have the knowledge and equipment to alleviate their suffering.
  • A Friends of Bats group needs to work with the Land Manager (ie. local Council, State Parks, or  Property Owner) to develop a management plan in the event of a heat wave, run sprinkler trials and allocate tasks to individuals, so that there is no confusion on the day.
  • An arborist can put the sprinklers up within the canopy and above the canopy, so that the spray comes down like rain.
  • Description of sprinklers used at Yarra Bend Park colony, as follows:
  • All the sprinklers rotate slowly so roosting FFs get a light cool every couple of minutes. Or they can choose to fly into the stream of water and get a heavier cool. Half the sprayers are three metres high and spray a diameter of seven metres and are battery powered. The others are petrol pump powered and rise above the canopy at six or seven metres.  
  • On days predicted to be heatwaves, sprinklers powered by fuel generators are run from 10am in the morning so the bats get the advantage of the cooling water, are hydrated enabling them to withstand the heatwave temperatures.
  • At Yarra Bend Park Colony, a Veterinary van was available for animals that required subcuts or other care.
  • Bats adapted to the noise of the fuel generators. Fuel generators which ran for 3hrs before requiring refilling were used at the Yarra Bend Park colony, however larger generators that run for most of the day are available as well.
  • In comparison, the Landsborough colony, where 23,000 spectacled FFs died, has been effectively set up with WiFi misting technology & solar panels by the Sunshine Coast Council. Perhaps these more advanced cooling systems can come later, in the meantime the more basic sprinkler systems powered by batteries and fuel pumps are preventing thousands of flying-foxes from dying in heatwaves and should become an essential part of all permanent flying-fox colonies. 

Because if we don't implement even rudimentary sprinkler systems into flying-fox colonies, the  more frequent & intense heat waves will ultimately annihilate this species and we can say goodbye to these beautiful animals, sadly!!  

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There is a lot of great work being done to protect flying foxes and their habitat, but we also need to show that these are important issues for a lot of people, and we'd love to have you onboard.

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