Bats soak up cool relief |PICTURES

AS Border residents sweltered through yesterday’s heatwave, volunteers of a wildlife rescue group provided some cool relief for the fruit bats plaguing Albury Botanic Gardens.

Armed with garden hoses, four members of WIRES watered the lower branches and foliage of the trees housing more than 450 bats.

The move to help the grey-headed flying foxes, who are listed as vulnerable species, comes after thousands of bats throughout southern Queensland died last week as a result of high temperatures.

“This is a better option than having to look after potentially hundreds of them,” WIRES secretary Hazel Cook said.

The bats moved into the gardens in October, with some giving birth soon after.

Albury Council is investigating ways to remove the colony but can’t take action until after March, when the last of the pups are to be fully fledged.

Ms Cook said the bats did not pose a danger to those accessing the popular picnic spot, saying there had been no reports of any carers with WIRES contracting Lyssavirus.

WIRES volunteer Scott Wilde was keen to lend some assistance yesterday after being concerned about their welfare.

“I wanted to come down and have a look at them, they have everyone talking,” he said.

“We have to look after all wildlife, not just the ones we like.”

Gardens curator Paul Scannell said the bats were behaving well and volunteers would continue to help through the week as the mercury climbed.

“We are not hosing the bats but rather helping to keep the leaves cool,” he said.

“If the bats do drop then they go through wet foliage and it will give them some respite.”

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