Community warned to avoid flying foxes

MID NORTH Coast residents are being warned to avoid handling or touching dead flying foxes or microbats, with an increase in the numbers of dead flying foxes being found in or around trees following the recent extreme heat.

The heat wave has affected local wildlife, particularly fruit bats and flying foxes.

Members of the community should not handle dead flying foxes or microbats unless they have been trained, vaccinated against rabies and use the proper protective equipment.

If you find a dead, injured or distressed flying fox, do not attempt to handle it yourself. Call your local wildlife rescue service WIRES on 1300 094 737 (Coffs Harbour area) or FAWNA 6581 4141 (Kempsey and Port Macquarie).

If you are bitten or scratched by a flying fox, the wound should immediately be washed gently but thoroughly with soap and water, an antiseptic such as povidone-iodine applied, and a doctor consulted as soon as possible to assess the need for further treatment.

For more information regarding safely handling flying foxes, visit the NSW Health website http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/flying-foxes.aspx