A successful trial of an atmospheric cooling system for flying foxes in Australia has given hope to researchers working to prevent the vulnerable species from dying and suffering in the country’s extreme heat. The innovative cooling system was installed in January in Bendigo’s Rosalind Park, which is home to an important breeding colony of grey-headed flying foxes. Jointly funded by WWF-Australia, the city of Greater Bendigo, and the Australian Department of Land, Water, Environment and Planning, the system comprises a series of aerial sprinklers in the tree canopy that distribute rain-like droplets on extremely hot days. In addition to keeping the flying foxes cool, the system is also designed to reduce heat stress among plants and tree ferns in the park. The system was trialed for the first time this January 23-25—the middle of Australian summer—when temperatures climbed as high as 106 degrees. Data logging devices show the temperature in the test zone dropped by up to 36 degrees and the heat stress index also dropped. No flying fox deaths were recorded. City of Greater Bendigo’s Coordinator Heritage Gardens and Amenity Landscapes, Orrin Hogan, said researchers also observed positive behaviors from the flying foxes. “Some flying foxes were a […]

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