Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

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

Veterinarian Shaun Scheepers filmed the gray-headed flying foxes spreading when fireworks from the Adelaide Rally were sent up around 8:30 pm last night in Rymill Park.

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

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

Dr. Scheepers, who lives in Kent Town, said it was “insensitive to have fireworks at the same time as the bats leave Botanic Park to find food”.

“You could actually see the bats spreading, moving away from the noise,” he said.

“It must have been a very loud noise for them to be hit by.

Bats and fireworks over a city with silhouette
Flying foxes can be seen scattered while the fireworks explode.(Delivered by: Shaun Scheepers)

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

They suffer from the summer heat of Adelaide and can carry light viruses.

Bats learn to avoid loud noises

Two organizations take care of injured or sick bats – Fauna Rescue SA and Bat Rescue SA.

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

Fauna Rescue Nurse Katrina Boardman said the flying foxes generally left their sleeping places around 7: 45-8: 00 p.m., so fireworks at 6 p.m.

A man holding a bat tries to fly away
Gray-headed flying foxes have been living in Adelaide’s botanical park since 2010.(Delivered by: Brad Leue)

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

“They just tend to avoid them,” she said.

“It’s incredible how flying foxes will adapt to the city they live in.”

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

“They seem to be doing that kind of thing well,” she said.

The organizer of the event is not aware of the problem

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” and attracted about 400 sign-ups.

A row of sports cars in the middle of a parking lot of other cars.
Sports cars are queuing up during another iteration of the Adelaide Rally, held earlier this year.(ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

Eight of the top 10 cars were from the interstate, a few days after South Australia’s borders opened to NSW, Victoria and ACT.

“We are happy,” Mr Possingham said.

“We had about 7,000 people in the East End walking through the place, so really very, very happy with it and the economic benefits to the area,” he said.

The event is part of the spring Bloom festival.

SafeWork SA approves fireworks.

It has been contacted for a comment.


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