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Managing Grey-headed

Flying-foxes
Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Australasian Inter-service
Incident Management System
January 2011
Version 1.7

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Protocols for Management of Grey-headed Flying-foxes at Yarra Bend Park during


Heat stress Events
Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System (AIIMS)
DSE developed this protocol for management in conjunction with Parks Victoria, key wildlife
carer organisations and other key stakeholders, and coordinated the comment process on the
draft documents.
The State of Victoria, Department of Sustainability and Environment, 2009
ISBN
This publication is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research,
criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced, copied,
transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical or graphic) without the prior written
permission of the State of Victoria, Department of Sustainability and Environment.
Disclaimer
This publication may be of assistance to you but the State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee
that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and
therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying
on any information this publication.

Version Control
Version Date
1
April 2006
1.2
November 2007
1.3
1.4
1.5
1.6
1.7

April 2009
Sept 2009
October 2009
November 2010
February 2011

Reviewed/Edited by
Merryn Kelly and Michelle McHugh
Merryn Kelly and Kirsty
Greengrass
Leah Slater
S.Diez
S.Diez
Michael Basson
Michael Basson

Acknowledgments
These protocols have been developed with the assistance of a range of volunteer and other
organisations dealing with wildlife welfare issues. The Department would like to thank the
Arthur Rylah Institute, Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, Aware, Department of
Primary Industries, Friends of Bats, Help for Wildlife, John Nelson, Melbourne Zoo, Parks
Victoria, RSPCA, Victorian Animal Welfare Association, and Wildlife Victoria, for their
involvement in caring for animals suffering from heat stress and their willingness to be involved
in the process of developing these protocols.

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

TABLE OF CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................... 3
1
INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................................. 5
1.1 Background .............................................................................................................................. 5
1.2 Objectives/scope of Protocol ................................................................................................. 6
1.3 Physiology of Flying-foxes ..................................................................................................... 6
1.4 AIIMS procedures ................................................................................................................... 7
2
HEAT STRESS EVENTS................................................................................................................ 11
2.1 What defines a heat stress event? ..................................................................................... 11
2.2 Other incidents requiring human intervention.................................................................. 11
3
MONITORING ............................................................................................................................... 12
3.1 Weather conditions ............................................................................................................... 12
3.2 On site assessment............................................................................................................... 12
3.3 Flying-fox behaviour ............................................................................................................. 13
4
INTERVENTION TRIGGERS/DECISION MAKING PROCESS.................................................. 15
4.1 Triggers and the required level of human intervention................................................... 15
4.2 Decision making process in managing a heat stress event ............................................ 18
4.3 Contact network and communication responsibilities...................................................... 18
4.4 Setting up on the day of a heat stress event ................................................................... 19
4.5 Further measures for Extreme Risk heat stress events ................................................. 19
4.5.1 Prior to the Extreme heat event ...................................................................................... 20
4.5.2 Preventative response ....................................................................................................... 20
4.5.3 On an Extreme heat event day:....................................................................................... 20
5
GUIDELINES FOR TREATING GREY-HEADED FLYING-FOXES .............................................. 23
5.1 Clinical Signs of Dehydration & Heat Illness ..................................................................... 23
5.2 Guidelines for initial treatment response........................................................................... 24
5.2.1 Flying-foxes in trees........................................................................................................... 24
5.2.2 Flying-foxes on the ground............................................................................................... 25
5.2.3 Management of Flying-foxes approved to be brought to carers................................. 27
5.2.4 Guidelines for initial treatment response - Summary flowcharts ................................ 30
5.2.5 Criteria for release post therapy ...................................................................................... 34
5.2.6 Vet examination ................................................................................................................. 34
5.3 Determining release location............................................................................................... 34
5.4 Tagging/marking protocols.................................................................................................. 35
5.5 Data collection....................................................................................................................... 35
6
EQUIPMENT.................................................................................................................................. 37
6.1 Equipment required for the Incident Control Centre (ICC)............................................. 37
6.2 Replenishing Consumables .................................................................................................. 38
6.3 Equipment for Carers ........................................................................................................... 38
7
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES/REPORTING ARRANGEMENTS .......................................... 40
7.1 Responsibilities of the Incident Management Team (IMT) ............................................. 40
7.2 Other Roles and Responsibilities......................................................................................... 42
7.3 Volunteers .............................................................................................................................. 42
7.4 Staffing Requirements.......................................................................................................... 43
7.5 Briefings ................................................................................................................................. 43
7.6 Key Contacts.......................................................................................................................... 44
8
RISK AND CONTINGENCY PLANNING ...................................................................................... 45
8.1 Types of Risk ......................................................................................................................... 45
8.2 Evacuation Plan ..................................................................................................................... 45
COMMUNICATION STRATEGY............................................................................................................ 46
9.1 Communication Plan ............................................................................................................. 46
9.2 Objectives .............................................................................................................................. 46
9.3 Audience................................................................................................................................. 46

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10

11
12
13
14

OCCUPATIONAL, HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS............................................... 47


10.1 Risks and Risk Control........................................................................................................ 47
10.2 OHS Incident Reporting ..................................................................................................... 48
REVIEW AND TRIALLING MANAGEMENT OPTIONS ......................................................... 49
CASE STUDY EVENT .............................................................................................................. 50
REFERENCES .......................................................................................................................... 51
APPENDICES ........................................................................................................................... 52

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
These protocols are specifically related to managing heat stress events.
However the AIIMS process and structure as set out in these guidelines
could be modified to manage other severe adverse events not specifically
related to heat stress.
The protocols will continue to be updated and amended as needed.
In 2003, Melbournes Grey-headed Flying-foxes (Pteropus poliocephalus) were
relocated from the Royal Botanic Gardens which resulted in the formation of 2 new
campsites the main colony at Yarra Bend Park in Melbournes east and a smaller
colony at Eastern Park in Geelong. Relocation was considered necessary as
increasing numbers of Flying-foxes were impacting on the culturally and historically
significant garden.
The Flying-foxes are listed as threatened under both the Victorian Flora and Fauna
Guarantee Act 1988 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999. They are also protected under the Wildlife Act 1975.
Since December 2005 a series of prolonged high and extreme temperature days
have resulted in the colony at Yarra Bend Park suffering from severe heat stress
where large numbers of Grey-headed Flying-foxes died.
DSE has a role in managing and monitoring the colony at the new campsite. A
Management Plan for the Yarra Bend Park Campsite has been prepared and
implemented to ensure the roosting opportunities and habitat quality continues to
improve.
These protocols (which use the Australasian Inter-service Incident Management
System (AIIMS) structure) have been developed to provide guidance when dealing
with a heat stress event in Flying-foxes.
Heat stress events are natural and Flying-foxes have evolved to deal with
temperatures in excess of 40oC for short periods. However they are not equipped to
deal with prolonged temperatures in excess of 40oC, especially when the heat is
accompanied by low humidity and hot drying winds.
Heat stress in Flying-foxes can be identified using behavioural criteria. Heat stressed
animals may flap their wings while stationary, pant, move lower in the vegetation,
dip their bellies into the river and drop to the ground to find cooler areas.
These protocols:
Identify what may be considered a heat stress event;
Identify monitoring requirements to predict conditions that may impact on the
Flying-foxes;
Identify when human intervention is required and what form it should take;
Identify roles and responsibilities of people involved in responding to a heat
stress event;

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Recommend minimal intervention techniques for treatment


Identify treatment options for heat stressed animals; and
Outline the occupational health and safety requirements when dealing with
Flying-foxes during heat stress events.

List of Important Charts, Maps and Tables (for quick reference)


Type
Chart 1
Chart 2
Chart 3
Chart 4
Chart 5
Chart 6
Map
Map
Map
Map

1
2
3
4

Table
Table
Table
Table

1
2
3
4

Table 5

Title
AIIMS structure
AIIMS Incident Management Team
Structure
Decision flow chart Grey-headed Flyingfox heat stress event
Grey-headed Flying-foxes in trees
Flying-foxes on the ground
Grey-headed Flying-foxes taken into care

Page
7
8

Yarra Bend Park Key locations


Grid Map of Yarra Bend Park
GHFF monitoring sites and access routes
Location of sandwich board signs during
heat stress events

9
10
75
76

Factors indicating level of risk


Minimum Staffing Levels
Key Contact Information
Activities trialled and their outcome during
past heat stress events
Site specific monitoring guidelines

16
43
44
49

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21
21
32
33

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1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background
In 2003, Melbournes Grey-headed Flying-foxes (subsequently referred to as Flyingfoxes) were relocated from the Royal Botanic Gardens resulting in the formation of
two new campsites - the main colony is located at Yarra Bend Park, 5 km north east
of Melbourne CBD and the other, smaller, colony is at Eastern Park in Geelong (DSE,
2005). Relocation was considered necessary as increasing numbers were impacting
on the culturally and historically significant gardens.
Yarra Bend Park (260 ha) is located on the Yarra River in Fairfield of which, 26 ha
was identified for the purpose of managing the Flying-fox colony. The colony is
located adjacent to the Yarra Bend Golf Club (see Map 1).
The Flying-foxes are listed as threatened under both the Victorian Flora and Fauna
Guarantee Act 1988 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999. In Victoria, the Flying-foxes are also protected under the
Wildlife Act 1975.
As the species is migratory, numbers in the colony vary based on the season,
however over the last 20 years the numbers of Flying-foxes both visiting and residing
in Melbourne has increased significantly (DSE 2005). The growth of the colony from
1994 onwards was exponential, with a peak in March 2003 at between 20 000 (static
count) and 30 000 (fly-out count) individuals (van der Ree et al 2005). The size of
the Yarra Bend colony during summer remained relatively steady at about 20,000
30,000 individuals until 2009-10 when an influx from saw the population reach
approximately 51 000 individuals (van der Ree unpublished data). This was the result
of storms in Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland wiping out much
of the bats food source, forcing them further south to feed.
These protocols were originally developed in response to a heat stress event that
occurred on 31 December 2005. A succession of hot days (in excess of 38oC
followed by 43oC on New Years Eve) resulted in the colony at Yarra Bend Park
suffering severe heat stress. At least 110 animals died during that heat wave. Since
that time additional heat stress events have occurred, with the most severe on 7th
February 2009 when over 3490 Flying-foxes perished at Yarra Bend. Colonies in
Geelong and Bairnsdale also experienced significant mortalities.
Heat stress events have also occurred in colonies in NSW and Queensland. The NSW
Wildlife Information and Rescue Service have developed guidelines for the
management of what they refer to as mass disaster incidents.
Other significant severe adverse weather events (for example severe hail storms,
severe wind storms) may require these protocols to be adapted in the future.

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Note that this is a working document that is being amended and updated
as necessary, and can be altered to manage components other than heat
stress events.

1.2 Objectives/scope of Protocol


This protocol;
Identifies what may be considered a heat stress event;
Identifies monitoring requirements to predict possible heat wave conditions that
may impact on the Flying-foxes;
Identifies when human intervention is required and what form it should take;
Identifies roles and responsibilities of people involved in responding to a heat
stress event and
Recommends minimal intervention techniques for treatment
Identifies treatment options for heat stressed animals;
Outlines the occupational health and safety requirements for dealing with Flyingfoxes.
An initial briefing will be held prior to the beginning of each summer to provide an
outline of the protocols to key agencies and carer groups. During that briefing
the protocol will be outlined, and individual staff will be nominated to
monitor weather patterns and bat behaviour from November to March.

1.3 Physiology of Flying-foxes


Flying-foxes are known as homeotherms; that is they continuously regulate their
body temperature at a constant high temperature. The resting active body
temperature of Flying-foxes is around 36oC (Hall and Richards 2000). Their body
temperature ranges from 35oC 39oC and can vary according to environmental
temperature (J. Nelson pers. comm. 2006).
The wings of Flying-foxes contain many blood vessels. When hot, Flying-foxes
increase the flow of blood through the wing blood vessels to promote heat loss.
When they need to cool their wings, and thus reduce the temperature of the blood,
Flying-foxes fan their wings or let them droop to allow heat to dissipate (Hall and
Richards 2000). Wing fanning (and panting) in response to heat commences when
the body temperature of the Flying-fox goes above 38.5oC.
Flying-foxes are temperate to tropical animals, and as such, have evolved to deal
with temperatures up to 40oC for short periods. However they are not equipped to
deal with prolonged periods in excess of 40oC, especially when this heat is coupled
with very low humidity and hot drying winds (Flying-fox Information and Care
Network 2005a). Continuous high air temperatures of over 40oC can cause death
from heat stress.
Heat stress in Flying-foxes can be identified using behavioural criteria. For example
animals that flap their wings, lick their wings to encourage cooling, dip their belly in
water, move lower into the vegetation or pant are, in some way, heat stressed (see

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section 6.3 for further examples of heat stress behaviour). It is also possible to
measure heat stress with physiological signs (such as temperature, respiratory rate,
and organ function), however most of these factors are difficult to measure in the
field.

1.4 AIIMS procedures


AIIMS (Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System) is used by a range
of agencies around Australia to manage emergency incidents, large and small.
During emergency activities this system provides for the coordination and integration
of events.
In many types of incidents more than one organisation will be involved. During
these times the use of the AIIMS system promotes effective joint operations through
the use of common terminology and structures.
The chart below illustrates how the AIIMS structure operates. When this system is
put into practice, an Incident Management Team (IMT) is formed.

Chart 1: AIIMS structure


Incident Controller (IC)
Responsible for overall incident
management

Planning

Operations

Logistics

Responsible for the


collation of incident
resource information and
prediction of developments

Responsible for the


management and
supervision of response
team as delegated

Responsible for the


provisions of facilities,
services, material and
finances

This structure provides a basis for the management of a severe adverse weather
event. It can be altered depending on the nature of the event, and the resources
available.
This structure has been modified and used during heat stress events in a number of
years since 2006. Chart 2 outlines the AIIMS structure to be used when dealing with
heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park.
Further details on the specific responsibilities of AIIMS roles are described in Section
7.

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CHART 2: AIIMS Incident Management Team Structure


Communications Officer

Logistics

Incident Controller
(DSE/DPI staff)

Veterinary
Melbourne Zoo/DPI
(Standby)

Planning Officer

Golf Course
Coordinator

Bellbird Coordinator

Carer Group

Carer Group

Carer group

Carer Group

Wildlife
Victoria
Leader

Friends of Bats;
Victorian Animal
Welfare
Association

Help for
Wildlife
Leader

Friends of Bats;
Victorian
Animal Welfare
Association

Wildlife
Victoria
Volunteers

Friends of Bats
Volunteers

Help for
Wildlife
Volunteers

Friends of Bats
Volunteers

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Boat Coordinator

Staff for
operating the
boat (as
required)

Parks
Victoria

Security

ARCUE

Monitoring,
data and postevent clean up.

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Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

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2 HEAT STRESS EVENTS


2.1 What defines a heat stress event?
A heat stress event can be defined as a hot weather event lasting one day or
more, that is extremely stressful and harmful to animals.
When temperatures exceed 35oC before the end of December or 38oC over
consecutive days from the beginning of January, the Flying-fox colony may
begin to experience heat stress and dehydration
For the Flying-fox colony, a heat stress event can cause the death of
individuals or significant numbers of individuals within the colony.

2.2 Other incidents requiring human intervention


Other events that may require human intervention to protect the Flying-fox
colony could include:
Roost collapse this can include mass loss of roosting trees over a short
period of time. This may be due to old age, high winds, fire or human
intervention.
Hail storms hail storm events may impact on colonies, depending on
the severity of the storm and the damage to roosting trees
Fire fire events may directly impact on those individuals that cannot fly
or escape the fire, as well as the impact of the loss of habitat and
roosting sites.
Abortion events an abortion event is when Flying-foxes begin to abort
their babies in large numbers over a short period. It is theorised this can
be due to a shortage of food prior to birthing, some form of major
disturbance in the colony or disease such as leptospirosis (WIRES
undated).
These protocols are specifically related to managing heat stress
events. However the AIIMS process and structure as set out in
these guidelines could be modified to manage other severe adverse
events not specifically related to heat stress.

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3 MONITORING
3.1 Weather conditions
During the period November to March, monitoring of the previous days
weather and the likely forecasted weather is required. The following
parameters should be monitored by DSE:
Maximum and minimum temperatures
Wind direction and speed
Level of cloud cover
Humidity
Previous weather patterns temperatures over the previous 3 days
Forecasted weather patterns predicted temperatures in the next 2 3
days. If possible, longer range forecasting will allow early preparation for
a possible event.
DSE will nominate an officer who will be responsible for monitoring weather
from November to March and identification of parameters that may result in a
high risk of a heat stress event (see Section 4). Temperature, humidity and
wind direction/speed data will be recorded daily. (This information can be
taken from FireWeb (the DSE Fire intranet service), and gives data for
present day plus three days ahead). Any conditions that rate on the risk
assessment table should be brought to the attention of the heat-stress
coordinator right away. Information gathered above should be used in
conjunction with the triggers listed in Section 4 to determine the intervention
response.
Within vegetation communities, individual microclimates exist, and as a result
temperatures and conditions can vary. Data loggers to monitor individual
sub-communities within Yarra Bend Park have been established to determine
which areas are more susceptible to unsuitable weather conditions, and which
areas the Flying-foxes prefer to move into during heat stress events. Results
of this monitoring are being collected and analysed by ARCUE.

3.2 On site assessment


A DSE officer will need to visit the GHFF colony to check for signs of heat
stress amongst the bats. This should occur when the forecasted weather
parameters threaten to reach a trigger point (see Section 4). Depending on
the conditions, multiple visits to the colony may be required throughout the
day. Using the behaviours set out in section 3.3, Officers need to assess the
condition of the bats and record local climate conditions for each of the eight
monitoring sites around the colony as shown on the GHFF Colony Heat Stress
Monitoring Sheet (Appendix 7). Sties are divided in to two categories;
Primary and Secondary. Primary sites should be assessed first and the
information gathered reported back to the IC. The IC will then decide if
monitoring of the Secondary sites is warranted.

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Where practicable, monitoring should be preformed in pairs with at least one


Officer having a Level 2 First Aid certificate. If monitoring is to be preformed
alone, on a weekday, other staff in the office must be informed of your
expected departure and return times. On weekends Staff should check in on
with the Yarra Bend Parks Victoria office either by phone (9488 3999) or in
person on arrival and departure. Alternatively arrangements can be made to
check in with another member of staff (e.g. the rostered IC).
Heath and safety procedures should be followed as per the GHFF Monitoring
JSA. A copy can be found in the white Incident Controller Folder, and should
be read before entering the field.

3.3 Flying-fox behaviour


Monitoring of Flying-foxes can be separated into two stages; monitoring of
the colony leading up to a heat stress event; and monitoring after the event
to assess the impact (monitoring by DSE or their representative). DSE has
prepared a standard data collection sheet to be used for monitoring in lead
up to heat event (see Appendix 7). Data should be recorded according to the
site specific instructions located in Appendix 7. Data will include temperature,
wind direction, humidity, number of bats in copse, number or % of bats in
certain key areas, number of bats that have fallen to ground, distance along
river where bats distributed, clumping etc

Prior to a heat stress event


Flying-foxes exhibit certain behaviours when it is hot as they try to reduce
their body temperatures. Key behaviours that have been observed include;
Flapping of wings while stationary/roosting
Holding wings out while stationary
Moving lower in the vegetation
Moving to vegetation patches that provide more shade
Dipping into the water for drinking or to cool the belly
Panting
Clumping (grouping of Flying-foxes to form clumps from 10s to 100s
of Flying-foxes in individual clumps)
Dropping to the ground to find cooler areas.
Monitoring of these behaviours can be used to help determine the level of risk
and therefore intervention required during a heat stress event. The level of
risk associated with these behaviours which may trigger intervention is
discussed in Section 4.
Dependent juveniles are too young to be able to undertake some of the
above behaviours as they are not yet able to fly and act independently from
their mothers (e.g. dipping into the water). As a result, dependent juveniles
are more susceptible to the parameters likely to cause heat stress and are
therefore more at risk of developing heat illness. When monitoring the colony

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between November and January (when the pups are less than 12 weeks old)
this needs to be taken into consideration.

Following a heat stress event


Monitoring of the colony after a heat stress event is critical to assess the
impact of the event on the colony, the recovery of the colony and to identify
any individuals that may still be suffering from dehydration. The extent and
duration of monitoring after a heat stress event will be dependant on the
severity of the event, including; the extent (in terms of numbers and severity)
of animals affected; the mortality rate; and the speed and level of human
intervention used. Typically, periodic monitoring during the days following
the event would be sufficient to identify any problems. DSE (or their
representative) will undertake post event monitoring.
Monitoring may include:
Visually assess the colony to see if any individuals are showing signs of
stress.
Walking though the park (concentrating on areas where the Flying-foxes
roosted during the heat stress event) to search for individuals on the
ground (ensure this activity does not disturb the roosting colony).
ARCUE staff will collect dead individuals to allow data collection.

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4 INTERVENTION TRIGGERS/DECISION MAKING


PROCESS
4.1 Triggers and the required level of human intervention
The following triggers have been developed to enable an Incident Management
Team to be established when high risk of a heat stress event occurs. The triggers
have been developed by taking into account a range of factors including;
Monitoring of long term weather forecasts
Identifying high risk weather days (include assessing the time of day,
estimated minimum and maximum temperature, wind direction and strength,
temperature over preceding days, time of the heat stress event within the
breeding season, humidity)
Age/number of juveniles in the colony at the time of a heat stress event,
particularly if the event occurs when the pups are no longer suckling but are
less than 3 months old and do not have the behavioural or physiological tools
to tolerate high risk days.
Time of year in regards to the months leading up to breeding season, when
adult males are territorial and thought to be stressed due to high
testosterone levels.
Assessing potential available habitat to enable the Flying-foxes to stay cool.
The impact of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity on juveniles is
much greater in the early part of the breeding season (late October to end
December) when pups are no longer suckling but are less than 3 months old.
The extreme heat stress events of 2009 have shown that adult males suffer at very
high temperatures (over 42C) in the months leading up to mating season, when
bats are considered to be highly territorial (mid January to late March).
High temperatures will have a far greater impact during these times. As such,
additional risk levels have been included which take into account those times where
very young pups or adult males may be at greater risk.
Risk is categorised into four levels; low, high, very high and extreme. They are
described in Table 1.

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Table 1: Factors indicating Low, High, Very High and Extreme heat stress events

Low Risk
Weather conditions
Temperature in excess of 38oC for
one day only

Time of year
The heat stress event occurs
prior to November
(commencement of birthing
season) or during mid
February April (when pups
are in excess of 12 weeks old).

Behaviour
Majority of bats still roosting high in trees along
river bank. Some bats moving lower in the
vegetation.

Response
Monitor the population to ensure there is
no evidence of heat stressed Flying-foxes
Notify PV and key carer groups that it has
been assessed as a low risk event

Time of year
The heat stress event occurs
during late October to end
December (shortly after
birthing season when pups are
most susceptible)
predominately when pups are
no longer suckling but are less
than 3 months old.

Behaviour
Large number of bats in understory along river, or
other areas with adequate shade. Most adults are
able to dip in the river for water, juveniles are not.
Bats exhibit cooling behaviour such as wing
flapping, licking and panting. Some clumping may
occur amongst young bats in the understorey.
Some bats may drop to the ground, but able to
climb back into the trees unassisted

Response
Implement protocols; Monitor population;
monitor forecasts for the day; have IMT
attend if juveniles show signs requiring
intervention

Time of year
The heat stress event occurs
between January and the end
of the summer (March/April).
Pups are less susceptible but
adult males may be more
susceptible.

Behaviour
Bats are filling most of the available understory near
the river and some are being forced to seek shade
elsewhere. Clumping is beginning to occur. Due to
exhaustion, adult bats are losing or have lost the
capacity to dip for water. Some bats may drop to
the ground, but able to climb back into the trees

High risk (early season)


Weather conditions
Temperature in excess of 35oC
Angle of the sun is such that full
sun is on the Flying-foxes (in the
Yarra Bend Park colony, this will
be westerly sun)
Low humidity with a northerly
wind.
No cloud cover

High risk (late season)


Weather conditions
Temperature in excess of 38oC
but less than 42 oC
Angle of the sun is such that full
sun is on the Flying-foxes (in the
Yarra Bend Park colony, this will
be westerly sun)

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Response
Implement protocols; Monitor weather for 3
days > 38oC; have IMT on standby at site
for intervention if required Have IMT on
standby at the site for intervention if Flyingfoxes are showing signs that meet criteria
for intervention (including Flying-foxes on

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Low humidity with a northerly


wind.
Two preceding days in excess of
38oC with hot dry winds
No cloud cover
Forecast temperatures for the
next few days in high 30s/low
40s.

unassisted

the ground, juveniles unable to tolerate


conditions).

Time of year
Adults and juveniles capable
of flying

Behaviour
Large numbers of bats are beginning to seek out
cypress pines/pencil pines on Golf Course side.
Panting and licking will occur but flapping may
cease due to exhaustion. Bats dropping to the
ground struggle, or are unable to return to trees
unassisted.

Response
Have slip on contractor attend Golf Course
side earlier in the day to spray bats
assembling in pines.
Prepare for additional actions for extreme
events (section 3.5)

Time of year
Heat stress event occurs
during lead-up to mating
season (January-April) when
adult males are highly
territorial and thought to be
stressed due to high
testosterone levels
Heat stress event occurs
during or shortly after birthing
season when pups are most
susceptible (late October to
end December)

Behaviour
Bats are seeking out cypress pines/pencil pines on
Golf Course side these trees have proved to be
too dense and therefore problematic in extreme
heat

Incident Controller (IC) Response


Monitor from early in day (i.e. 10am)
Implement IMT and response at first signs
of distress
Include additional actions for extreme
events (section 3.5)

Very high risk


Weather conditions
Temperature in excess of 38oC
but less than 42 oC; temperature
predicted to exceed 42 oC;
Low humidity; northerly wind.
Previous days temperature >38C

Extreme Risk
Weather conditions
Temperature in excess of 42C
Very low humidity
Northerly wind
(Note: Strong/gusty wind may
intensify dehydration)
No or low cloud cover
Previous days temperatures not
relevant

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The risk levels described help to determine the level of response from an Incident
Controller, and when it is appropriate for an IMT to be activated.
Note that not every parameter needs to be satisfied for a low, high or very high or
extreme risk event to be called.

4.2 Decision making process in managing a heat stress event


When a prospective heat stress event is forecast, the nominated DSE Officer is
responsible for monitoring weather conditions and bat behaviour to determine the
potential level of risk of a heat stress event is likely. DSE will nominate an officer to
monitor weather for each day during the risk period.
If a low risk is determined to be present, the IC will continue to monitor weather
patterns and conditions, as well as bat behaviour to assess if intervention is required.
Should conditions stay the same, or improve and there is no longer an impact on
Flying-foxes, the IC calls the all clear.
If a high risk factor is determined, the protocols are activated and the IC should
implement the IMT and notify carer groups of a possible heat stress event. Further
monitoring of the weather conditions and bat behaviour is required to monitor the
effect of the heat on the Flying-foxes.
If an extreme risk level is determined, the protocols are activated and the IC should
implement the IMT, notify carer groups and other stakeholders of a heat stress event
and enact additional actions for extreme heat stress events (see Section 4.5).
Should conditions improve, the IC has the authority to downgrade the risk level, and
assess the impact of the heat stress event on the Flying-foxes.
If conditions worsen continued management of the event occurs until conditions
improve and the risk level decreases.
Chart 3 provides a guide for decision making once a predicted heat stress event is
forecast.

4.3 Contact network and communication responsibilities


Notification prior to a heat stress event
When a potential heat stress event is forecast, the IC or heat stress coordinator will
send out an email (usually the day before) to DSE biodiversity staff and volunteer
key contacts alerting them to the upcoming conditions, asking those contacts to be
on stand-by until further notice and informing them of DSEs plans to monitor the
situation. (Transport arrangements also need to be considered at this time.)
If the heat stress event looks like it could potentially be very high or extreme (See
Table 1) the large slip tank and contractor should be placed on standby as well.

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Notification if a heat stress event is called


The IC will be the person responsible for making the judgement as to whether the
conditions warrant implementation of a heat stress event response, therefore the IC
is the person responsible for enacting the chain of communication.
The chain of communication is as follows:

The IC, or delegate, will contact the key contacts (see Section 7.6) from
ARCUE, Wildlife Victoria, Help for Wildlife, Friends of Bats and Victorian
Advocates for Animals and advise of the numbers needed according to
severity of the heat stress event.

These key contacts will then be responsible for notifying their respective
networks and calling on the appropriate number of volunteers as per the
advice of the IC.

The IC, or delegate, will contact all rostered staff. This includes a person who
will drive the trailer of equipment to the park, a person who will drive the
boat to the park and a person who will collect supplies such as food and
water

If the heat stress event risk is expected to be very high or extreme, the
contracted sprayer with the slip tank will also be notified and additional
procedures noted in section 4.5 will be enacted

4.4 Setting up on the day of a heat stress event


After the IC has called a heat stress event and enacted the chain of communication,
there are a number of necessary actions to set up for the event:


The 8 A-frame signs should be placed at usual points around the park (see
Map 4 in Appendix 7) to warn park patrons to minimise disturbance to
Flying-foxes. This should be done as early as possible on the day.
The picnic shelter at Bellbird should be reserved as early as possible on the
day Notify Parks Victoria staff that the reserved sign is being used on the
day. The reserved sign is stored in the Bellbird toilet block (note: this sign
is not part of DSEs equipment kit it belongs to Parks Victoria).
All gates need to be open to allow volunteers access in particular, the gate
which allows access from Yarra Bend Road to the northern end of the
Bellbird side (where disused car park is). IC should arrange for gates to be
opened.
After notifying contacts of meeting point (usually Bellbird Incident Control
Centre) the IC needs to ensure that he/she is there when the group
assembles to give the briefing and assign roles and responsibilities. If there
are set-up tasks to be done which requires the IC to be away from the
meeting point, those tasks should be delayed for the time being and
delegated to other staff by the IC.
Roles and responsibilities from this point onwards are detailed in Section 7.

4.5 Further measures for Extreme Risk heat stress events

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In 2009, two heat stress events took place consisting of more severe temperatures
and conditions than had ever been experienced by the Grey-headed Flying-fox
colony at Yarra Bend Park (see Section 1.2 for more background information). It is
now recognised that Flying-fox deaths increase sharply as temperatures exceed
42C. In adjusting the protocols, these temperatures now qualify an event as
Extreme Risk, and, as such, further measures (in addition to steps already taken for
general heat stress events) are to be taken.

4.5.1 Prior to the Extreme heat event













Alert the spraying contractor (with large slip tank) of a potential extreme
risk heat stress event and place on standby
Request stand-by of full scale Extreme risk staffing levels (see Table 2,
section 7.4), to cover at least two shifts (recommended shift is six hours
max).
Have veterinary contacts on stand-by.
Arrangement of as many inoculated DSE staff as possible for both shifts
Plan where mobile spray units will be best situated to maximum effect (See
Map 2 of potential bat locations during heat events).
Alert DPI Attwood or other pre-planned facility of potential need for
processing/incineration of Flying-foxes
Alert ARCUE to make arrangements for collection and processing of dead
Flying-foxes.
Alert Parks Victoria staff
Plan to have air-conditioned triage caravan attend site

4.5.2 Preventative response







In the morning/early afternoon of an Extreme day the slip tank operator


should attend the Golf Course copses (see Map 2).
Spraying should occur as bats begin to congregate in the cypress/ pencil
pines
This preventative action should cool bats enough so that they return to
roosting by the river
This will prevent, or at least lessen the severity, of clumping (causing mass
death) in the cypress trees

4.5.3 On an Extreme heat event day:







A-frame signage and Reserved sign for IC Centre displayed early (morning)
Begin monitoring early (10 11am)
Monitor at locations outline outlined in Map 3
IC to direct placement of slip tank operator and other volunteer sprayers in
light of Map 2 for most effective spraying response.

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Chart 3: Decision flow chart Grey-headed Flying-fox heat stress event


Predicted heat
stress event (see
section 3)

Note that in the


instance of altered weather or
wildfire that may risk the safety
of carers and staff, the IC can
evacuate the area at any time

IC appointed officer is to monitor


temperature, forecast temp,
humidity, bat behaviour etc.

Low Risk
Temperatures in excess of
38oC for one day only
Heat stress event occurring
prior to breeding or at least
12 weeks after breeding

Monitor population to
ensure no heat stressed
bats (via PV as
necessary). Notify PV
and key carer groups that
it has been assessed as a
low risk

Temp > 38 C
Low humidity with a northerly wind
Two proceedings days >38oC
Heat stress event occurring between
Jan to end of season

Temp > 35 C
Low humidity with a northerly
wind
Heat stress event occurring during
or shortly after the breeding season
(late Oct to end Dec)

IC to activate protocols
Contact Carer network to be
available from 2.00pm on the
day of the heat stress event

Conditions
improve

Conditions
worsen

High risk early season

High risk late season

Determine if any
bats were affected
by the event

Conditions
stay the
same

IC to have slip tank


contractor attend Golf
Course side earlier in
the day to spray bats
assembling in pines

Conditions
worsen

Continued
management of the
event until
conditions improve
Page 21 of 80

Very High Risk


Temperature >38 oC but
<42 oC. Expected to
reach or exceed 42 oC
later in the day.
Low humidity with a
northerly wind

Conditions
improve

Conditions
worsen

Extreme Risk
Temperatures > 42oC
Low humidity with a
northerly wind

IC to activate protocols
Contact Carer network to
be available ASAP on
the day of the heat stress
event
Include additional
actions for extreme heat
stress events

Conditions
improve

Determine if any
bats were affected
by the event

Conditions
stay the
same or
worsen

Continued
management of
the event until
conditions
improve

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

No bats
affected

Stand down
slip tank
contractor

Bats affected. IC to
liaise with carers for
appropriate action

No bats
affected

Bats affected. IC to
liaise with carers for
appropriate action

Stand down
Post heat stress
event follow up
actions

Stand down

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5 GUIDELINES FOR TREATING GREY-HEADED FLYING-FOXES


5.1 Clinical Signs of Dehydration & Heat Illness
Signs of Dehydration
Dehydration can be divided into 3 categories according to severity. Each category is more
dangerous and urgent than the one preceding it:

Mild dehydration (5% dehydrated). This is the point where dehydration first
becomes visible, with the following symptoms: Very thirsty, dull eyes, dry mucous
membranes, dry-warm skin, fatigue, irritable, urine begins to darken in colour, urine
output decreases, general weakness, skin loosing elasticity, limb cramping (Flying-fox
Information and Care Network (2005b).

Moderate dehydration (7% dehydrated). All of the above signs of mild dehydration
plus: skin doesnt bounce back quickly when pressed or pinched and then released (may
looked wrinkled), dry (greyish) wing membranes, very dry mouth, sunken eyes, poor
capillary refill, cool moist extremities (even on a hot day), limited and darkened urine
output, muscle cramps (twitching), stiff and/or painful joints, disorientation, severe
irritability, extreme thirst (more than normal), but may be unable to drink at this stage, or
vomiting if offered water (Flying-fox Information and Care Network (2005b).

Severe dehydration (7 12% dehydrated). All of the above signs of mild and
moderate dehydration plus: hypovolaemic shock, cyanosis (blue colouration to mucous
membranes and extremities), blotchy skin, very dry shrunken wing membranes,
confusion, lethargy, the whole animal is very cold to touch, rapid breathing, severely
sunken eyes, severe muscle contractions/cramping, convulsions, rapid but weak pulse,
low blood pressure (may become undetectable), severe disorientation, bouts of
unconsciousness, fever, no urine output, not interested or unusually completely unable to
drink fluids, difficult to arouse. As the conditions worsens, will lapse into a coma, then
death. (Flying-fox Information and Care Network (2005b). The animals will need
aggressive IV fluids, antibiotics and steroids. In the case of severe dehydration, the
animal may require euthanasing (McLaren pers.com. 2006).

12 15% dehydrated: The animal will be in severe shock, with death being the most
likely outcome even if treated. Above 15% dehydration is the point at which no amount of
treatment will assist and euthanasia should be considered.

Note: An affected animal will not necessarily present with all indicated symptoms.

Signs of Heat Illness


It is likely that a spectrum of clinical signs of heat illness will be seen in flying foxes:
Animals that are suffering milder forms of heat illness and/or mild clinical dehydration can
be treated on site by cooling and oral re-hydration. Such cases will probably respond to
treatment and may be returned to the colony quickly.
Animals that are suffering severe dehydration and/or severe heat illness (e.g. similar to
"heatstroke" in humans: severe hyperthermia plus neurological signs such as altered
consciousness, coma, seizures, ataxia) will require more prolonged periods of care.
Severely affected animals are at greater risk of developing complications following an

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episode of heat illness, and will require more detailed assessment (Kate Bodley pers.
Comm. 2007).

5.2 Guidelines for initial treatment response


The following guidelines were developed by DSE (in consultation with veterinarians within the
Department of Primary Industries and Zoos Victoria and Biologists and Ecologists from Monash
University and the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology) to provide an interim response for
treatment of affected Flying-foxes. These guidelines apply after the Incident Controller has declared
a heat stress event and the Incident Management Team has been established. The IC will have
alerted carers and some animals are displaying signs of heat stress.
There are a number of risks associated with intervening to assist Flying-foxes during
severe weather conditions. It must be stressed that DSE considers the safety of heat
stress event staff and volunteers to be paramount and that correct OH&S procedures
must be followed at all times.
See Section 10 for further detail.

Management of the public/Exclusion Zones


Areas of the colony will be designated as exclusion zones i.e. under no circumstances are people to
enter this area of the camp (unless authorised by the IC). These will be clearly designated by
flagging tape and will be determined by the IC after discussion with field staff.
The Bellbird Picnic shelter should be reserved for use as the Incident Control Centre. This can be
done by using the Parks Victoria Reservation sign (stored in the toilet block at Bellbird Picnic Area).
Ensure that public access to areas where Flying-foxes are on the ground is restricted and controlled.
The A-frame signs (sandwich-board signs) that alert the public to a heat stress event and the
potential impact on Flying-foxes should be erected.
Ensure potential impacts of golfers on the colony is minimised. It is essential that people be
requested to keep out of the copse in the golf course (see Map 2 which has the copse area marked).
Ensure that one of the A-frame (sandwich-board) signs is placed outside of the golf pro shop at the
beginning of the day. A leaflet or briefing note inside the pro-shop would also assist in notifying
golfers.

5.2.1 Flying-foxes in trees

Stressed Flying-foxes may move low in vegetation to cooler/more shaded positions, or


because they are weak and cannot fly or climb readily after coming to the ground or landing
near the ground. This usually occurs later in the day when the animals are exhausted, though
during days over 42oC, this can occur before noon. In recent extreme heat stress events, the
trend was for Flying-foxes to occupy a number of cypress pines on the golf course. Map 2
gives a rough guide to where bats were clustering on the golf course during these extreme
days. These locations might be an appropriate place for the IC to dispatch staff and
volunteers at the start of an event.

Flying-foxes may benefit from re-hydration in-situ, if this can be done without scaring them or
other Flying-foxes roosting nearby. Such Flying-foxes were seen to lick vigorously when
sprayed with water and to become more alert subsequent to this treatment. However, not all
Flying-foxes in trees close to the ground will need treatment, and the risk of treating a single
bat is that others nearby will be scared into less cool locations.
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If large numbers of Flying-foxes are roosting within a few metres of the distressed Flying-fox,
do not risk disturbing them to treat the animal of interest.

Approach slowly and quietly to minimise disturbance to any animals roosting nearby.
Withdraw if human presence is causing disturbance to adjacent animals.

Do not spray the animal directly at first, but allow spray to fall on the animal. If it starts
licking, then direct spray is unlikely to alarm it. Continue spraying while the animal licks
vigorously. It is important that a fine mist spray is used so that the Flying-foxes are not
disturbed. Overhead mist spray via pumping units is the most optimal spray type, though for
extreme heat stress, larger and more complex spraying systems may be required to cope with
large numbers of bats in distress. Spraying water directly onto the wings of the Flying-foxes
or underneath onto the body may cause distress in the Flying-foxes. It may be possible to
spray water onto the Flying-foxes, however not if the animals are becoming distressed and
only if the water spray is a very fine mist large water droplets could damage the wing
membrane.

It is important that any spray intervention is monitored and if causing disturbance, is stopped.

Withdraw slowly and quietly after you have sprayed the animal sufficiently.

5.2.2 Flying-foxes on the ground


Approaching the colony/individual Flying-foxes

Many animals that come to the ground are capable of climbing up into adjacent trees and
shrubs. A grounded animal should be observed from a distance (i.e. from outside the
colony area) for a minimum of 5 10 minutes before intervention is attempted. Further,
if in a shaded area or with green grass, the ground may be cooler than in the trees, and
hence is a better place for the Flying-foxes to remain. However, many young Flying-foxes
on the ground become entangled in vegetation and are unable to free themselves.
Young Flying-foxes seen to be dropped by their mother in the open will need to be
carefully observed to ensure it is not in distress. It is preferable that young Flying-foxes
be treated in situ, however they may need to be taken into care for the duration of the
heat stress event if they are seen to be very distressed. The position of retrieval should
be noted according to tagging protocols (as discussed in section 5.4) to allow reunification
to occur.
If large numbers of Flying-foxes are roosting within a few metres of the grounded animal,
approach cautiously and watch to see whether the roosting Flying-foxes show signs of
being disturbed (starting to climb away). If so, do not retrieve the grounded animal. It is
more important to minimise disturbance and additional exposure to potential heat stress
in a number of Flying-foxes than to rescue one individual. The Flying-foxes have selected
the coolest and most shaded areas in the camp to roost, and if intervention scares them
away from such cool/shaded areas, they may roost in less preferred/hotter locations.
Approach slowly and quietly to minimise disturbance to any animals roosting nearby.
Withdraw if human presence is causing disturbance to adjacent animals.
During recent extreme heat stress events, very large numbers of bats were observed
clumping along the full length of the trunks of large cypress pines (golf course) and piling
up on the ground below. In these extreme events, disturbing a few bats in order to get

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close to the distressed majority may be appropriate, though further debate and research
on this is needed.

Treatment of Flying-foxes via sprays


Ensure that any water used to spray animals is tepid and not cold.
If a live individual is found on the ground, spray with water, then disentangle from ground
vegetation and coax/lift onto a stick. Only people that are fully vaccinated (using
the Merieux Inactivated Rabies Vaccine) should handle Flying-foxes. People
that regularly come in contact with Flying-foxes must have their serum tested
for rabies antibody every two years, and receive a booster vaccine if their
antibody count is inadequate.
If the animal clings well to a stick and climbs along it, then spray further to cool animal
and to encourage licking. Place animal via stick onto a suitable tree or onto a frame
erected for the purpose. If the animal is listless or too weak to hang onto a stick, gather
it in a damp, breathable cloth or pillowcase and transport to on-site care for assessment
and re-hydration if appropriate (see Section 4.2.3 on handling and transport of Flyingfoxes).
The IC should authorise the first intervention of an animal being taken into care then
subsequent authorisation can be gained from the Bellbird or Golf Course side Coordinator.
Note the sector that the animal has been retrieved from, and mark the container used to
transport the animal.
If you cannot induce the bat to take electrolytes orally, it should be transferred to the
caravan for more intensive care, after clearance is given by the Golf Course or Bellbird
Coordinator.
 During extreme heat, large clumped masses of Flying-foxes in cypress pine trees (golf
course) or along the riverbank may require spraying with larger spraying systems
(motorised/battery powered tanks). Assess wind direction and position spray tank so that
direction of spraying is in the same direction as the wind, towards the animals (this will
minimise water landing on the person spraying). Any motorised pumps should be kept the
maximum possible distance from the Flying-foxes to keep noise to a minimum, and a
muffler should be used if possible to reduce noise. Do not directly spray the animals. The
water stream should be aimed upwind of the Flying-foxes so that a mist is blown towards
them. Trial this action for a few seconds to gauge reaction. If a few bats disperse but the
majority remain, continue with spraying. If many bats disperse, cease spraying and
retreat slowly and calmly, try again at a later time.

Data collection requirements

Any animals that are taken into care should have basic data collected - site, age, sex,
forearm length, weight, and demeanour for later analysis. These animals should be
marked according to datasheets provided. Animals should only be handled for data
collection after they have been treated and stabilised.
Animals re-hydrated are to have nail polish applied to the nails as per guidelines in
Section 5.4.
All data collected should be recorded on the data sheet at the time of treatment. (See
Appendix 1).

Monitoring

Re-hydrated animals are to be monitored and placed in a tree or on a frame if sufficiently


recovered (able to climb along stick, alert). Fully re-hydrated animals should be drinking
on their own and bright, alert and responsive (acronym B.A.R.). It may be worthwhile
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taking rectal temperatures and releasing based on normal body temperature and a
subjective hydration test (skin test approximately one second to return to normal when
skin on nape of neck is pinched). Note that rectal temperatures should only be carried
out by trained carers under optimal conditions.

Deceased Flying-foxes ARCUE and DSE staff ONLY

Dead animals should only be collected by ARCUE staff. They will record information about
the collection locations on a map. Gloves and other relevant personal protective
equipment (hardhat, sunscreen, boots and long pants, etc) should always be
worn when on-site collecting dead flying-foxes.
DSE has four wheelie bins designated for collection of flying-foxes (and clearly labelled as
such) which are currently stored at the Parks Victoria depot off of Yarra Bend Road. The
golf course pro shop is usually willing to loan a buggy to collect dead bats on the golf
course.
If dead flying-foxes are to be processed at the park, they must be taken to the area
designated by Parks Victoria. Currently this area is a large, outdoor enclosure located
directly across Yarra Bend Road from the Parks Victoria office. There is a locked gate
leading to the enclosure which can be opened with the standard key for the park.
After collection/processing, flying-foxes must either be put into cold storage or taken
away immediately for incineration. Dead flying-foxes must never be left behind in wheelie
bins. There is a refrigerator inside the combination-locked shed in front of the Depot
which can hold up to 100 flying-foxes. DPI Attwood or ARCUE can be contacted for
collection of dead animals, otherwise an independent contractor (see contacts list, held by
IC) should be arranged to pick up and transport the wheelie bins to the relevant facility.
DPI Attwood prefer animals that have not been frozen, however will take frozen animals if
there is no alternative. DPI Attwood can test for the presence of lyssavirus.
A pet cremation facility may be available for backup incineration should DPI Attwood not
be available.
ARCUE and DSE will be responsible for data collection and organising disposal of
deceased Flying-foxes

5.2.3 Management of Flying-foxes approved to be brought to carers


It is important that once an animal has been identified as needing care, it obtains that care
quickly and efficiently. It is also important that the IC monitors and manages the number of
Flying-foxes taken into care. The IC must authorise the first intervention of an animal being
taken into care then subsequent authorisation can be gained from the Bellbird or Golf Course
Coordinator. To expedite the process, approval to take an animal into care can be gained via
mobile phone, radio or in person. Once the coordinator has approved the animal to go to a
carer, the process is as follows:
The primary aim for flying-foxes brought to carers is to re-hydrate them with electrolytes with
a view to releasing them if possible within the first four hours, depending on their response.
This primary care can be administered by carers on site at the Yarra Bend Golf Course. Where
possible, individual animals will be released as soon as practical, depending on their level of
dehydration and response to treatment. However it is important to note, that each Flying-fox
should be individually assessed and if sufficiently dehydrated it may require extended care
which could take from 2 3 days to a week.

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Within the Yarra Bend Park, a caravan will be set up at the Bellbird car park, and a triage area
set up on the Golf Course side. After initial on site treatment, if the animal is in need of more
intensive treatment, it should be transported to the caravan.
* Note that a researcher will be on site specifically to collect data about the amount of animals
sprayed, treated and released on the day. This data will ensure ongoing improvement in our
approach to heat stress management.

Data collection

Any animals that are handled should have basic data collected - site, age, sex, forearm
length, weight, and demeanour for later analysis. These animals should be marked
according to Section 4.4 and the datasheets provided. Collection of data such as forearm
length and perhaps weight should be delayed until the animal has been re-hydrated and
behaviour is closer to normal.
These data sheets will be provided and collected by DSE staff each day.

Transportation

It is important to minimise restraint of hyperthermic animals to avoid increasing their


stress (i.e. dont wrap too tightly, dont use heavy cloth).
Transportation of animals to the carers and the caravan should be undertaken with
minimum stress on the animal. The animals should be wrapped in a wet pillowslip or
cloth (breathable cotton material and wet with tepid/cool water, not cold) and placed in a
ventilated container for transport. Alternatively, a wet cloth can be placed over the
ventilated container rather than wrapping the animal in it.
Animals should not be packed together for transport as this may cause additional heat
stress.
All animals transported to the carers and the caravan must be accompanied by
information describing the sector the animal was collected from, any treatment already
administered.

Dependant young

Dependant young should be considered separately to adults.


Experience by carers in NSW & VIC suggests that there is a high level of recognition of
young by their mothers after separation, even over some distance and up to 72 hours
from separation.
Dependant young should be released as soon as possible after an event and only if the
young has recovered sufficiently after the heat stress event and is showing normal bat
behaviour.
When physically recovered, dependent young should be placed in a small tree at the edge
of the camp and preferably near the tree it was collected from. The tree should be small
enough to enable the young to be retrieved after 12 hours if the mother hasnt retrieved
it, but tall enough that the mother would be prepared to come down into it.
Once released at the site, monitoring should occur for a maximum of 12 hours to ensure
the mother collects the young. Monitoring should consist of regular visits to the site
during the 12 hour period (e.g. 2 - 4 visits or as practical) to check if the young is still in
the tree. Volunteers will generally undertake this monitoring.
If the young has not physically recovered from the heat stress event within a reasonable
number of days or is not collected by its mother within 12 hours of being released, the
animal will need to be kept in care until it is deemed suitable for a soft release. For
information on the soft release process, see Appendix 5.
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Re-hydration treatment

Oral re-hydration with lectade or similar electrolyte is the preferred means of rehydration. Aim to give minimum 10-15% of bodyweight orally using a syringe over 12-24
hrs, otherwise ad-lib (as much as the animal will drink).
Follow-up by offering dilute fruit juice (1 part fruit juice and 3 parts water) at ambient
temperature (or at least not cold). Consider offering fruit such as watermelon/grapes. It
is important to note that undiluted apple juice is a potent osmotic diuretic and will
dehydrate animal further if given undiluted. A solution of at least 1 part apple juice to 3
parts water is required (Fowler pers. com. 2006).
Flying-foxes that accept oral re-hydration should be monitored for alertness and strength.
Intensive re-hydration of animals will include cooling, re-hydration and (in severe cases)
treatment for hypotensive shock. Individual veterinarians may have their own protocols
for fluid administration and volumes required (and the method and volume of
administration will vary depending on the condition of the animal). The Veterinarian
should administer Hartmanns (Lactated Ringers) solution intravenously (IV) or
intraperitoneally (IP) or subcutaneously (SC) as required. The method of administration
and the volume delivered will be dependent upon the degree of dehydration of the
animal.
If the Flying-fox is able to cling to a stick and climb competently along it, consider placing
it in a tree near where it was picked up. Again, only approach the tree if other Flyingfoxes are not going to be scared away by your presence.
If using submersion treatment, the wings of the animal should be lightly sprayed and the
animals placed in a cool environment and the animals response assessed. If there is no
improvement, supervised immersion could occur to severely affected animals. This must
be carried out by trained carers and care needs to be taken to ensure the animal does not
get hypothermia. Tepid water should be used in all cases. Immersions will be more
stressful for the animal, but may be necessary.
Note that a veterinarian is on standby and is available for any veterinary-based treatment.

Acclimatisation for release on the day

It is important to note that Flying-foxes may be affected if taken from an outside


temperature in excess of 38oC to a highly air-conditioned area. The ideal temperature to
cool Flying-foxes is 28oC (Fowler pers.com. 2006). Temperatures lower than this may
cause peripheral vasoconstriction (constriction of the blood vessels that does not allow
heat to be carried away from the body), which will not allow for the core body
temperature to be cooled.
Ensure that when taking animals into care as well as when releasing a re-hydrated Flyingfox, the animal acclimatises from an air-conditioned area to outside temperatures (that
may be in excess of 40oC). Note the comments above to ensure that treatment areas are
not excessively cold. Note also that if an animal has been treated for dehydration, it may
not be appropriate to release them during an extreme heat day.

Prolonged care for Flying-foxes

Any Flying-foxes taken to a shelter for rehabilitation should be kept for the shortest time
possible, before being released again at the site of capture (this time to be determined
following further consultation).
Ensure that any animals which have been held for a number of days are released in
suitable conditions (i.e. not during high temperatures).

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Dependent young should be released as soon as possible after an event to increase its
chance of reuniting with its mother, provided it is sufficiently recovered (refer to Section
5.2.5).
If juveniles are held in care beyond a period where it is possible to reunite it with its
mother, it must be returned to the colony via the soft release process. See Appendix 5
for details.

Euthanased/deceased Flying-foxes

Animals that do not respond to re-hydration with electrolytes or more intensive rehydration or which have other life threatening injuries (as determined by a veterinarian)
should be humanely euthanased by a veterinarian or appropriately qualified carer*
Animals that may need to be euthanased include animals with broken bones, animals in
shock or unconscious or animals with prolonged hyperthermia to the point of organ
damage (this list is not complete, and any animal with suspected life threatening injuries
should be assessed by a veterinarian).
ARCUE staff (ONLY) will collect dead animals from the place of death the next morning.
The location will be marked on a map. Carcasses will be deposited in a central area.
Collection and disposal will be arranged by ARCUE or DSE.

Guidelines for the management of Grey-headed Flying-foxes (Pteropus poliocephallus) have


been developed for Horseshoe Bend in Ivanhoe. These guidelines provide excellent detail on
captive husbandry, behaviour and social organisation of Flying-foxes, reproduction and heath
issues which will be applicable to the Yarra Bend colony. Each carer group should have a
copy of the above guidelines for reference.

5.2.4 Guidelines for initial treatment response - Summary flowcharts


The following flowcharts summarise the steps needed when treating Grey-headed Flying-foxes
under the various scenarios (Section 5.2.1 - Grey-headed Flying-foxes in trees; Section 5.2.2 Grey-headed Flying-foxes on the ground and Section 5.2.3 - Grey-headed Flying-foxes
approved to be brought to carers). Full details of treatment responses can be found in the
above sections.
Overarching principles that apply to all treatment options:
Be aware of any exclusion zones; IC approval will be needed to enter these areas.
Only people that are fully vaccinated using the Merieux Inactivated Rabies vaccine should
handle Flying-foxes.
Ensure authorisation to take Flying-foxes into care is obtained from the IC (in the case of
the first intervention) then from the Bellbird or Golf Course coordinator for subsequent
interventions.

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Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Chart 4: Grey-headed Flying-foxes in trees


Assessment

Stressed Flying-foxes may move low in vegetation to cooler/more shaded positions, or because
they are weak and cannot fly or climb readily after coming to the ground or landing near the
ground.

This usually occurs later in the day when the animals are exhausted, though during days over 42oC,
this can occur before noon.

Bat actions may include flapping wings whilst stationary, licking wings or panting. Do not approach
colony unless bats are exhibiting these behaviours

Actions

Re-hydration in-situ is the preferred method. Not all


flying-foxes in the tree will require treatment. Do
not risk treating a single bat if it might scare other
bats into less cool locations.
If heat stressed, approach slowly and quietly and
spray tepid water towards the animal in an upward
arc. Do not spray the animal directly allow the
spray to fall on the animal

If human presence is disturbing the individual or the


colony, withdraw from the area, and reattempt at a
later time

Animal responds to treatment


by licking the water. Continue
to spray lightly

Animal doesnt respond


to treatment after a
number of attempts and
remains distressed

Withdraw slowly and quietly


after the animal has been
sprayed sufficiently

Refer to Flying-foxes taken


into care

Continue to monitor until heat


stress event has ended. If
animal becomes stressed again,
then re-treat
Page 31 of 80

Spraying water
directly onto the
wings of the Flyingfoxes or
underneath onto
the body may
cause distress

During extreme heat,


large clumped masses of
Flying-foxes in cypress
pine trees (golf course) or
along the riverbank may
require spraying with
larger spraying systems
(motorised/battery
powered tanks). Contact
the IC if you feel such
action is warranted

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Chart 5: Grey-headed Flying-foxes on the ground


Assessment

A grounded animal should be observed from a distance (i.e. from outside the colony area) for a
minimum of 5 10 minutes before intervention is attempted. Further if the area is likely cooler than
in the trees

Young Flying-foxes seen to be dropped by their mother in the open will need to be carefully
observed to ensure it is not in distress. It is preferable that young Flying-foxes be treated in situ

Actions

Re-hydration in-situ is the preferred method.


Approach grounded animal cautiously and
withdraw if disturbing the colony. It is more
important to minimise disturbance to the
colony than to rescue one individual

If able to approach the animal without


causing disturbance, spray tepid water in
an arc above the animal. Do not spray
onto the animal directly

If human presence is disturbing the


individual or the colony, withdraw from
the area, and reattempt at a later time
Any animal taken into
care must have site,
age, sex, forearm
length, weight and
demeanour recorded
once it has been
stabilised ONLY

Coax animal onto a stick

If animal clings well,


continue spraying

Place animal onto a low


branch or frame and
allow it to fly away when
ready

Continue to monitor until


heat stress event has
ended. If animal
becomes stressed again,
re-treat.

If animal is too listless/weak to


hang onto a stick, take it into care
by gather it in a damp, breathable
cloth or pillowcase
Only retrieve animal if it
does not cause
disturbance to the colony.
Reattempt at a later time
if causing disturbance.

Refer to Flying-foxes taken into


care

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The Incident
Coordinator (IC)
should authorise the
first intervention of
an animal being taken
into care then
subsequent
authorisation can be
gained from the
Bellbird or Golf
Course side

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Chart 6: Grey-headed Flying-foxes approved to be brought into care


Assessment

The IC must authorise the first instance of an animal being taken into care. Subsequent approval
can come from the Bellbird/Golf Course coordinator

Animals brought into care should be released, if possible, within 4 hours

Actions

Transport animals to triage area ensuring minimal


stress on the animal (noting location it was taken
from). The animal should be placed in a ventilated
container and either wrapped in a light wet cloth
(with tepid water) or the wet cloth placed over the
container for transport

Undertake approved rehydration treatment


based on the level of dehydration of the Flyingfox and veterinary advice/procedures

Animal responds to treatment


on site. Undertake required
data collection (see data sheet)

Once animal has been assessed


for release (according to the
criteria for release after
therapy), begin to acclimatise
the animal to outside
conditions. Return the animal
to the location it was retrieved
from and remove any marking
tape.
Continue to monitor until heat
stress event has ended. If
animal becomes stressed
again, re-treat beginning with
insitu methods
If animal doesnt response to
insitu treatment, recommence
treatment for further care

Mark bats using red


(Golf Course side) or
blue (Bellbird side)
nail polish. Record
grid coordinates on
flagging tape and
attach to the leg of
the animal, cage or
blanket.

Animal does not respond to


treatment on site

Take into extended


care off site if able
to be saved

Authorised person can


euthanase animal if
severely injured or
dehydration too extreme

If taken into extended care,


endeavour to keep the
animal for the shortest time
possible

If the animal is still showing


signs of illness, the animal
should be vet checked and
tested for disease.

Once animal has been assessed


suitable for release, begin to
acclimatise the animal to outside
conditions. Return the animal to
33 of it80was retrieved from
thePage
location
or via soft release cage

Undertake data
collection of deceased
animals. Deceased
animals should be
collected by ARCUE

Collect data
and remove
flagging
tape tag

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

5.2.5 Criteria for release post therapy


While it is desirable to return treated animals to the wild as quickly as possible, it is important
to ensure that the animal is properly recovered. Possible complications from dehydration if
the animal has not fully recovered include:
Recovering animals may not be able to thermo-regulate effectively
Immune system response may be compromised
Animals may be more susceptible to heat stoke/dehydration at lower temperatures
If there is a cold snap, the animal may suffer hypothermia due to an inability to thermoregulate.
Animals may not have the strength to fly out and seek food (Fernee pers.com. 2006).
To ensure that animals are ready to go back into the wild after re-hydration therapy, animal
should fulfil the following criteria:
They should be bright, alert and responsive to stimuli.
They should be drinking voluntarily.
They should not show any signs of dehydration (i.e. when the skin over the nape of the
neck is pinched up, it should return to its normal position in about 1 second (skin should
have normal elasticity); oral mucous membranes should be moist and pink) (Bodley, pers.
com. 2006)
Dependent young should be released as soon as possible to increase its chance of reuniting
with its mother, provided it is sufficiently recovered and meets the above criteria. If the
young does not recover sufficiently to be released within 3 or so days, the young should be
kept in care until plans can be made for its release.
Non-dependent juveniles and adults can be released back into the colony as soon as the
animal is sufficiently recovered and meets the above criteria.

5.2.6 Vet examination


If an animal continues to show symptoms of heat illness (e.g. seizures, increased
temperature) or abnormal behavioural signs (e.g. disoriented, unable to climb) after treatment
and time in care, the animal should be taken to Healesville Sanctuary/Melbourne Zoo for
examination. During the examination, Flying-foxes should be tested for disease.

5.3 Determining release location


It is important that any Flying-fox taken into care is released to the same area that it was
taken from (after the animal has been assessed as being able to be released). This is to
ensure that the release is as stress free as possible, and that if the Flying-fox is a juvenile, its
mother can locate it.
If possible, the success of the reunification should be monitored to ensure that a young animal
is not left alone because its mother cannot locate it. If the reunification is unsuccessful, the
infant may need to be taken into long term care.

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5.4 Tagging/marking protocols


A protocol has been developed to enable Flying-foxes taken into care to be marked prior to
release. The purpose of this is to:
Identify where individuals have been taken from;
Identify if an individual has been taken into care previously;
Identify the location Flying-foxes were retrieved from (so that they can be returned to the
area they were taken from);
Identify if any of the dead animals retrieved were treated previously and released.
It is important to reiterate that Flying-foxes should be treated in-situ wherever possible,
however if taken into care the following tagging procedure is adhered to.
The tagging process involves two steps:
1. Nail polish
All Flying-foxes taken into care will have a distinctive colour nail polish on one toenail.
The colour will vary depending on whether they have been retrieved from the Golf
Course side (Red) or the Bellbird side (Blue) of the park. The purpose of the toenail
polish is to help identify if Flying-foxes have been treated previously.
2. Identify location Flying-foxes were retrieved from
Use the Grid Map (Map 2) to describe coordinates
The animal itself (on cage or blankets preferably) will be tagged with marking tape. If
the animal is to be marked, tape with self-adhesive ends should be attached to the
leg of the animal so that the adhesion does not stick to the animal.
The grid coordinates should be written on the tape. This will enable each individual
Flying-fox taken into care to be distinguished from the others and returned to the site
it was retrieved from. The tape must be removed prior to the animal being
returned to the wild.
Information on location retrieved, and data for research purposes (see section 5.5)
should be gathered prior to release of the Flying-fox.
It is important that any Flying-foxes requiring intensive treatment (i.e. an animal that
doesnt respond orally) be taken to a wildlife carer caravan for re-hydration (after
approval is given by the relevant DSE Coordinator).
The marking of treated Flying-foxes with nail polish is not considered reliable for identification
in the long term as nail polish can wear off over time. Due to this, micro-chipping is being
considered for trial for potential future heat stress events (See Appendix 4).

5.5 Data collection


It is important that basic data is collected from any animal taken into care. This will enable
information about Flying-foxes to be collected and analysed to research the effect of heat on
individual animals.
Basic data collected should include:
Date and time of collection

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Tag or location grid number of Flying-fox to enable it to be identified and released in the
correct location
Sex of the Flying-fox
Forearm length and weight of the Flying-fox
Description of the nail polish mark colour and number.
General condition of the Flying-fox prior to treatment
What treatment was undertaken
General condition of the Flying-fox post treatment
Outcome was the animal released (if so, what time and where) or was the animal retained
for further treatment?

Data sheets will be provided to the Golf Course and Bellbird Coordinator on the day for distribution to
the relevant carer who will record the information on each Flying-fox treated in their area. Data
sheets should be returned to the IC officer on the day of the event.
Data must also be collected on dead animals. The same data sheet should be used, also noting
where the dead animal was found, if it died in care, the suspected cause of death and how the body
will be disposed of. The relevant coordinator should be responsible for collecting, recording data and
organising removal on deceased Flying-foxes.
Appendix 1 provides an example of the data sheet to be used.

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6 EQUIPMENT
6.1 Equipment required for the Incident Control Centre (ICC)
The following Incident Control Centre Kit has been developed which contains the required planning
and organisational equipment to establish an ICC. This kit is stored in a trailer and will be brought to
any event.
The Kit is to contain:

Stationary
Lanterns and torches
- 6x bowls
Forms and log books
- 4x clipboards
Blue Tac
- Scissors
Texta pens
- Permanent Markers
Pens
- Highlighters
Nametags
- Bulldog clips
Packing Tape
- Double sided tapes
Map
- Flagging tape
- Business cards

Electrical and Tools


- 4x 10m extension
- 1 Calliper
cords
- Hanging scales
- Batteries (AA, AAA, C, - Barricade tape
D)
- Chain
- Rope
- Small Megaphone
- Multi grip
- Red rope
- Chrome adjustable
- Pinch pliers
spanner
- Power board
- Thermometer
- 2x Tap Keys

Miscellaneous
20x plastic cups
- Detol Handwash
Large Megaphope
- Detol antiseptic
Serviettes
- Benedene antiseptic
8x whistles
- Gatorade
Garbage bags
- 2x blue nail polish
- 2x red nail polish
Other Equipment in Trailer
- 3x esky
- 4x plastic jerry can
- 3x flexi backpack sprayers
- 2x rigid backpack sprayers
- 10x Animal baskets

Protective Clothing
- 3x suede glove pairs
- 2x orange vests
- 4x oates clean short
- Pack of hat liners
glove pairs
- Sunscreen
- Red IC hard hat
- Aeroguard
- Yellow hard hat
- 2x wildlife officer
- 4 x tabards
vests
2x boxes Ansell
disposable gloves
To be brought from office
- White IC folder
- Keys
- DSLR camera with zoom lens
- 2x Binoculars
- Trunk and handheld radio
- Large first aid kit

Page 37 of 80

Watering
-

3x hoses
2x Hills spray packs

To be purchased on day
Ice
Juice
Fruit
Snacks, lunch

Wildlife Emergency Safety Equipment


- 25x hard hats
- Latex gloves
- 4x safety vests
- Snap lock bags
- 3x gardening
- 12x white
gloves
overalls
- Boot covers
- Marker

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

6.2 Replenishing Consumables


The ICC kit contains a number of consumable products with expiry dates of a year or two. In
some years there may be very few or no heat stress events and these consumables will not be
needed. To prevent the waste of throwing out these products when they expire, each year the
consumables should be removed from the kit and placed into general use by field staff. Such
items should subsequently be replaced with new stock. Consumables that will need replacing
include sunscreen, power-aid powder, certain first aid supplies and any bottled water.

6.3 Equipment for Carers


Kits for carers and volunteers (to treat Flying-foxes) should also be developed and held by the
relevant carer organisations. The kit should be kept at the triage centres on both the Golf
Course and Bellbird side. Suggested contents of a recovery kit for Flying-foxes are listed
below.
Recovery kit for Flying-foxes

Portable cages
Drip feeders
Garbage bags
Insect repellent*
10 ml syringes
Alco wipes
Teats
Sharps disposal container
Hand towels
Equipment to treat wounds on bats
Sterile re-hydration fluid (includes 0.9% saline and
Hartmanns solution)

Apple juice
Lectade
Washing dish
First Aid kit
1ml syringes
Bottles of water
Thermometer
Dummies
Large towel
Hot water bottles
Whistles (for emergency contact only
be aware they may disturb the
Flying-foxes)

Individual rescue kits for carers should also be developed that can be carried by individuals
into the field for in-situ treatment of Flying-foxes. Suggested contents of this kit include:
Syringes
Water bottle (for Carer)
Hand Towel
Cotton blankets/pillow cases (for wetting and wrapping Flying-foxes/placing over container
for transport)
Carry cage to transport bat
Diluted apple juice for Flying-foxes (1 part apple juice to 3 parts water)
Stingoes cream*
Canvas or other carry bag
Fruit or energy bars (for Carer)
Equipment to treat wounds on Flying-foxes
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Soap/iodine to treat any scratches


Binoculars (to allow observation without approaching the colony too closely)
Bandages (in case of snake bite)

*Note that people who are handling Flying-foxes and using chemicals such as insect repellents
need to be extremely careful not to get any on the Flying-foxes.
Individual carer groups and volunteers have a wide range of equipment that can be brought to
a heat stress event. This includes pump units, hoses with appropriate fog nozzles, suction hose
with strained and float and pumping units.

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7 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES/REPORTING ARRANGEMENTS


7.1 Responsibilities of the Incident Management Team (IMT)
Key staff within an IMT and their roles are identified below.

Incident Controller (IC)


The Incident Controller is the person appointed by the responsible authority (DSE) to direct
the overall response operation and to coordinate activities of the various organisations
involved in the incident. The IC has overall decision-making responsibility and is supported by
appropriate operational, scientific and administrative personnel. The duties of the IC are:
Decide on the necessity of intervention and to appoint an Incident Management Team
(IMT) and set up an Incident Control Centre to manage the impacts of a heat stress
event.
Assess the severity of the heat stress event once on site.
Monitor weather patterns and forecasts (in conjunction with the responsible officer).
Monitor bat behaviour.
Determine the level of response and the scale of the response team required.
Notify appropriate organisations and authorities and keep them informed of
developments.
Organise copies of data sheets, maps, procedures, contact details and briefing
information to be available for staff and carers.
Initiate and direct response measures to manage the heat stress event.
DSE / Biodiversity Group will arrange for a survey (on the day) of the colony to determine
location and spread of the colony.
Give the initial briefing to staff and carers.
Ensure field staff provide situation reports.
Maintain coordination of the activity of supporting organisations (Carer groups, Parks
Victoria).
Coordinate carer activities (via the Bellbird and Golf Course Coordinators)
Authorise the taking of animals into care.
Decide on fate of individual Flying-foxes taken from the wild (after advice from the
veterinarian). This ranges from determining when an animal should leave the site and
remain in care with a care organisation to euthanasia by a veterinarian.
Contact DPI Attwood or other pre-arranged incineration facility if dead Flying-foxes are
present.
Decide when to scale down and/or terminate the response activity. Termination may
include significant changes in weather or wildfire risk that may cause safety of response
team to be at an unacceptable risk.
Monitor external and internal events and Evacuate personnel in the case of emergency
(such as wildfire)
Ensure the completion of clean up and return of equipment.
Provide input into debriefing sessions.
Other Officers that may be part of an IMT as required include:

Planning Officer
Provides the IC with planning related details including:

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Location of volunteers and staff.


Time volunteers started and due finishing times (be aware of time out in the field). In
severe conditions (such as high temperatures in excess of 40oC, the
recommended maximum shift should be no longer than 6 hours individual
groups should ensure their own staff are appropriately managed).
Details on the status of the operation (e.g. the level of heat stress in Flying-foxes).
Location of heat stressed populations (mapping and photography of heat stressed animals
on the day)

Operation Officer
Responsible to the IC for all field activities undertaken relating to the heat stress event
including:
Provide advice and recommendations on the response strategies within the park i.e. what
activity/level of intervention could occur depending on the heat stress level.
Ensure the safety of personnel.
First aid for carers and staff.
Contacting ambulances/further doctors advice for carers and staff as necessary.
Allocate teams to specific areas within the park to monitor Flying-fox behaviour.
Allocate boat crews/water transport vehicles for Flying-foxes.
Ensure adequate data is provided to the Logistics Officer for documentation.
Participate in briefing sessions.

Logistics Officer
The Logistics Officer is responsible to the IC for the provision of financial recording,
procurement and clerical services required in relation to the heat stress event. Responsibilities
include:
Arrange first aid kits.
Ensure wildlife caravan available as necessary.
Ensure hoses/spray equipment are on standby.
Arrange personal rescue kits for staff and volunteers.
Ensure staff and volunteers have appropriate OH&S gear (hats, sunscreen, appropriate
footwear, water bottles etc).
Ensure staff and volunteers have adequate water and food facilities.
Arrange a planned meal break roster (including deliveries of food).
Obtain names and addresses of property owners that may be impacted by the movement
of Flying-foxes due to the heat stress event.
Arrange shelter, rest and sanitary services for personnel.

Communications Officer
The Communications Officer is responsible to the IC for communication activities within the
heat stress event including:
Establishment of a list of attendees and ensuring all staff and volunteers are signed in and
out (attendance sheet is located in Appendix 3). The attendance sheet is critical to ensure
volunteers are covered by insurance and that in the event of an emergency individual
teams can be contacted for evacuation.
Take incoming calls and radio transmissions as required.
Maintain an incident log for all issues and decisions made.
Obtain regular weather reports.
Obtain situation report from field staff and relay to the IC.

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Ensuring that important information is communicated to staff/carers/volunteers via the


Bellbird and Golf Course Coordinator

The above roles are key management roles in an AIIMS structure, however are not the only roles
required to manage a heat stress event. Appendix 2 identifies other roles required when managing
the impact of heat stress on Flying-foxes

7.2 Other Roles and Responsibilities


In some cases not all of the IMT roles will need to be filled, depending on the severity of the event,
and the available resources. Specific roles required will be determined by the IC after taking into
account severity of the event and resources.
Further to the detailed roles outlined in section 7.1 for the IMT, individual role descriptions have been
developed based on roles that are seen to be needed to manage a heat stress event. Appendix 2
outlines the key roles and the role description for management of a heat stress event.

7.3 Volunteers
The Department has limited resources to undertake rescue of heat stressed Grey-headed Flying-foxes
and needs assistance. Volunteers can help in the overall response to a heat stress event including
caring for distressed animals, rehabilitation of Flying-foxes, record keeping and other general
activities.
Where they are used, the management of volunteers must be in accordance within the established
procedures outlined for the Management of Volunteers.
The following arrangements are consistent with DSEs Insurance Policy for the use of volunteers:
Each volunteer must be registered prior to commencing any volunteer work with the
Department (as per the Attendance Sheets available on the day of an event).
Volunteers must be registered as individuals, not organisations, and the officer in charge must
sign the volunteer register.
The Roles (Appendix 2) specifying the roles of volunteers to be used by the Department
during a heat stress event should be completed.
Volunteers must be between the ages of 18 and 90 years inclusive.
Volunteers must be supervised by departmental personnel.
Volunteers must sign off when they leave the site
Only individuals affiliated with ARCUE, Wildlife Victoria, Help for Wildlife, Friends of the Bats or
Victorian Animal Welfare Association, or volunteers that are known to the Department and
experienced in Flying-fox handling/welfare, are permitted to assist during a heat stress event.
All volunteers and carers must have read this protocol and be familiar with the process and
requirements for managing a Flying-fox heat stress event prior to assisting at an event. In addition
volunteers must have read and adhere to the DSE Code of Conduct for Volunteers (Appendix 8).

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7.4 Staffing Requirements


For each level of risk of a heat stress event (Low, High, Very High and Extreme), estimated minimum
staffing levels have been determined (see table 2).
The figures in the following table are minimum requirements. Additional volunteers may be
necessary depending on the number of Flying-foxes affected. Additional volunteers should be called
in by the leader of individual groups via the IC.
Shifts for heat stress events days should not exceed 6 hours on the ground and replacement
personnel will be required after that time.
Table 2: Minimum Staffing Levels
Risk Level DSE staff
Low
High

1 IC
1 IC
1 Golf Course
Coordinator
1 Bellbird Coordinator
1 Pump Coordinator
1 Logistics
1 Communication
1 Operations/Mapping

Volunteers
0
1 Leader Help for
Wildlife plus team of 6
carers

Other nonDSE staff


0
ARCUE

TOTAL
1 DSE
7 DSE
26 volunteers

1 Leader Wildlife
Victoria plus team of 6
carers
Friends of Bats - 4
carers
VAWA - 4 carers
Pump volunteers - 4

Very High

1 IC

1 Spraying
contractor
with slip
unit

Extreme

1 IC
1 Golf Course
Coordinator
1 Bellbird Coordinator
1 Pump Coordinator
1 Logistics
1 Communication
1 Operations/Mapping
1 Tanker Supervisor

1 Leader Help for


Wildlife plus team of 6
carers
1 Leader Wildlife
Victoria plus team of 6
carers
Friends of Bats 4
carers
VAWA - 4 carers
Pump volunteers - 4

7.5 Briefings

Page 43 of 80

1 Spraying
contractor
with slip
unit
ARCUE

1 DSE
1 Contractor

8 DSE
26 volunteers
1 contractor

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

An initial briefing will be held during November to provide an outline of the protocols to key agencies
and carer groups. During that briefing the protocol will be outlined, and individual staff will be
nominated to monitor weather patterns and bat behaviour from November to March.
Further briefings for staff and carers are given prior to any work relating to managing a heat stress
event (usually on the day of the event). An initial briefing is given to all staff and carers and includes
details on setup of the Command Centre, communication issues, care of Flying-foxes, OH&S issues,
evacuation procedures, equipment requirements etc. Additional briefings can occur for specialist
groups (such as a briefing for pump operators or a briefing for carers).
Staff and carers are allocated into teams based on previous experience, skills, availability,
contactability, and requirements under the AIIMS Incident Management Team structure (Section 1.4).
Each team will be given specific roles (Appendix 2) and geographical areas to patrol by the IC.

7.6 Key Contacts


The table held with the Incident Controller identifies key contacts within the public service and carer
groups. Note that only one key contact for carer groups will be listed it is up to the individual carer
groups to contact their own volunteers.
As key contacts have the potential to change throughout the course of a season Table 3

Key Contacts will now be attached as an additional file.

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8 RISK AND CONTINGENCY PLANNING


8.1 Types of Risk
There are two types of risks relating to managing Flying-fox heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park:
1. The risk to Flying-foxes during heat or other severe weather events (individual animal
suffering, animal deaths, impact on the conservation of the species)
2. Risks created as a result of implementing the project (e.g. risks to people when handling
animals, risks to animals from the presence of people, risks to people on-site in dangerous
weather conditions)
In order to mitigate these risks, DSE advises that the careful implementation of these protocols
will reduce the risk to both the Flying-foxes and the people on-site that are working to assist them.
The key points to remember are:
Inoculation of those that may be in direct contact with Flying-foxes
Reporting to Incident Controller and providing contact details
Familiarity with correct procedures relating to handling animals
Evacuation procedures, listen to the briefing
Self care rest, re-hydrate, seek shade, monitor yourself and others
No collection of dead animals
Keep in contact - know what is happening on site, sign off when you leave the site

8.2 Evacuation Plan


If an emergency should arise during a heat stress event that requires evacuation of staff and
carers from the park, the following process should be followed:
An emergency event has been identified and declared by the IC. An emergency can
include those activities that may jeopardise the safety of personnel including (but not
limited to) wildfire, accident requiring an ambulance or severe wind storms.
The IC will contact the relevant emergency services (in the case of fire, ring 000, in the
case of accident requiring ambulance, ring 000). Note that the Metropolitan Fire Brigade
is responsible for fire suppression in Yarra Bend Park.
The IC should notify all personnel in the field to immediately go to the muster points.
The IC should also contact individual teams in the field via trunk radios and mobile
phones as a secondary precaution.
Muster points for evacuation are the car park on the Bellbird side and the VINC car park
on the Gold Course side.
All staff and volunteers are to be marked against the attendance sheet by the relevant
coordinator on each side prior to leaving Yarra Bend Park.
The IC should ensure all staff and carers have safely left Yarra Bend Park. The IC should
also provide direction as to the safe route outside of the park and away from the
emergency.
If possible, housed bats should be removed, but only if it can be done without risk to
personnel.
The evacuation plan will be explained to staff and volunteers during both the pre-season briefing and
on-site briefings on the day of an event.
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COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
9.1 Communication Plan
DSEs Media Unit has drafted a Communication Plan. The objectives and audience for the Plan
have been identified below. A full outline of the Communication Plan is held by DSE.

9.2 Objectives
The following objectives identify what the Communication Plan aims to do:
1. To educate park users about heat stress in Flying-foxes, the role of the IMT and what to
do if they encounter a stressed Flying-fox.
2. To be ready for issues by preparing for risks and managing issues communications
3. To inform volunteers and on-call staff of a heat stress incident and enlist their support.
4. To inform the general public of positive outcomes and educate them about Flying-foxes.
5. To inform all other relevant stakeholders of a heat stress incident prior to event and
outcome post event.
For each of the above objectives, communication tools (in terms of specific media to be used
signs, flyers, media releases, TV interviews etc) and the key messages to be delivered have
been developed.

9.3 Audience
The Audience for any communication message relating to the Grey-headed Flying-fox are:
Park users (including golfers)
DSE Flora & Fauna staff
Volunteers Wildlife Victoria
Friends of Bats
Help for Wildlife
Victorian Animal Welfare Association
Parks Victoria (Yarra Bend)
On-call veterinarian (DPI or Zoos Victoria)
Healesville Sanctuary
Yarra Bend Trust
Yarra Bend Golf Course Management
RSPCA
General public
Internal audience Ministers, DSE staff

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Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

10 OCCUPATIONAL, HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS


There are a number of OH & S issues that must be taken into account when working with
Flying-foxes or working in extreme conditions.

10.1 Risks and Risk Control


Staff and carers must be aware of:
Inoculation requirements Flying-foxes can carry a range of viruses and it is critical
that only inoculated people touch the Flying-foxes. Only people that are fully vaccinated
(using the Merieux Inactivated Rabies Vaccine) should handle Flying-foxes. People that
regularly come in contact with Flying-foxes must have their serum tested for rabies
antibody every two years, and receive a booster vaccine if their antibody count is
inadequate. If a person or carer is bitten or scratched, the wound must be washed
thoroughly (but not scrubbed) with soap and water for at least 5 minutes. Following
washing with soap, all bites should be cleaned with antiseptic with antiviral action (e.g.
povidone iodine or iodine tincture). People should then contact their local doctor who will
contact the Department of Human Services to arrange appropriate treatment that may
include vaccination or booster vaccination.

Sun-smart requirements wear appropriate clothing (including a long sleeved shirt and
closed-toed shoes suitable for the field), sunscreen and wide brimmed hats. A gazebo will
be set up on the Yarra Bend Golf Course side to provide shelter. Shade will also be
provided on the Golf Course side of the River.

Heat stress of staff and carers during extreme conditions it is very easy to become
dehydrated. Ensure plenty of water is consumed at regular intervals.
Coordinators/leaders need to ensure that staff are rested, have plenty of breaks, are taken
out of sunny areas periodically and do not work for lengthy periods. Provisions of food
and water will be regularly ferried to staff and volunteers on the golf course side.

Snakes while snakes may not be active during the hottest part of the day, they may be
more active at dusk, or when it cools down. Appropriate clothing (heavy boots, long pants
or gaiters) should be worn, and care taken when walking through long grass.

Falling branches the major tree species along the Yarra River is River Red Gum, which
in hot weather may be more prone to dropping branches. People need to be aware of this
when selecting shade trees to shelter under. Helmets should be worn when working
under trees. These will be provided by DSE.

Issues associated with use of the golf course as the Yarra Bend Park colony is
located adjacent to the Yarra Bend Golf Course, carers and staff on the Golf Course side
need to be aware of potential hazards golfers using the course, golf balls in flight etc.
Helmets may be necessary when moving across the golf course

Topography as the colony is located along the Yarra River, there are areas of steep
grades leading to the river. Staff and carers need to be aware of this and take care when
working near steep slopes.

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Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Water Safety people involved with use of watercraft on the Yarra River (for example
canoes or small punts travelling from one side of the river to the other) need to follow
appropriate water safety rules always wear a personal flotation device, ensure the boat
is not overcrowded, appropriate licences are held etc.

High risk to carers and staff possible wildfire events or significant changes in weather
patterns (for example severe winds) that may be a high risk to carers or staff. An
evacuation plan is described in section 8.2.

Communication it is important that each team of carers is able to communicate with


other carers, DSE staff or the coordinator. Mobile phones should be carried by each team
and in the event of poor coverage, whistles should also be carried as an emergency
contact (be aware they may disturb roosting colonies).

Termination of an event The Incident Controller will announce when an event is over
and the IMT is to be dismantled. All staff and volunteers will be directed to leave the site
once the end of an event has been announced. Anyone choosing to stay at the site after
the end of an event has been called does so at their own risk.

10.2 OHS Incident Reporting


Any Illness, injury, near miss or hazard for staff or volunteers must be recorded and reported
to either the Logistics Officer or the Incident Controller (note that the Incident Controller may
perform both roles during a small scale event) as soon as practical. The report must be in
the form of an OHS INCIDENT REPORT CARD (see below). Copies of these can be found in
the white IC folder.
In the case of a serious OHS incident, where reasonably practicable, the scene should be left
undisturbed until an OHS investigation team arrives.
For situations requiring medical care, beyond first aid or diagnostic purposes, the incident
must be reported to WorkSafe via the DSE OHS hotline 0408 007 062

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Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

11

REVIEW AND TRIALLING MANAGEMENT OPTIONS

This protocol is a working document and is refined each year. Review of the plan occurs on an
annual basis to update contact details, management structures and staffing. Reviews will continue to
occur after each event to assess:
what worked well,
what didnt work well
what could be improved.
During the course of the heat stress events of 2008/9, a series of management activities were
undertaken to trial various methods to keep the Flying-foxes cool. Some of the activities either
trialled or proposed for trialling and their outcome are noted in Table 4 below.
Table 4: Activities trialled and their outcome during 2008/9 heat stress events
Activity
Use of new Guarany brand backpack spray
units

Use of trailer-mounted 1500L slip tank with


motorised pump and 20+ m hose during
extreme heat stress event
Continued planting of terrestrial vegetation
along the river and in the wetland area to
provide addition shade and roosting sites (in
process).
Soft Release of dependent juveniles that
were deemed unfit for release during or
immediately after an event

Outcome
Positive feedback from volunteers about the
sprayers range, but still the issue that the
backpack spray units are quite heavy and difficult
to use in rugged terrain. Investigating spray
units that can be transported by car or wheeled
along instead.
Effective at reaching large numbers of bats during
extreme heat stress events. Noise levels need
improvement muffler for the motor is needed.
Planting is ongoing. Has provided shady, cool
habitat for the Flying-foxes.

Soft release trialled in 2007 and undertaken again


in 2009. Animals appear to be successfully
reintegrated back into colony. Microchip readers
around feeding buckets will be trialled next
season to track which animals are returning to
feed.

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Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

12 CASE STUDY EVENT


The following is a scenario event and describes the associated response from the IC.
Scenario:
January 19, hot dry conditions, Min 29, Max 39
January 20, Min 28, Max 39,
January 21, Min 29, Max 41.
Hot dry northerly winds, occasional cloud cover and low humidity.
The Flying-fox colony roosts in an area adjacent to a river, and high roosting trees are
present. Moderate density riparian shrubs and grasses occur along the river, and is relatively
continuous. Vegetation within the river corridor is about 500 m wide, and consists primarily of
River Red Gum, Silver Wattle and Black Wattle.
Response from IC:
IC has been aware of hot dry conditions (via the Monitoring Officer). Upon receiving the
predicted forecasted top for January 21, the IC identifies an automatic high risk and a heat
stress event is called. High risk has been determined because temperatures were in excess of
39oC for two proceeding days, and a temperature in excess of 40oC, but less than 42oC, was
forecast.
The IC then establishes an IMT. Carer groups are notified and key staff are called in. Leaders
within the carer groups notify members that a heat stress event is likely to occur and that
volunteers to care for Flying-foxes should be available from 2 3pm (when it is most likely
that the Flying-foxes will require assistance).
The IC continues to monitor temperatures as well as Flying-fox behaviour on the day.
Attendance records are taken and carers and staff are signed in and noted if they are
vaccinated.
Briefings are given to staff and carers and roles allocated. Staff and carers go to respective
designated areas to undertake tasks allocated by the IC or their DSE supervisor.
IC continues to monitor weather, Flying-fox behaviour, staff movements, OH&S issues etc (via
the IMT).
IC continues management of the event until conditions improve. Staffing times and breaks
need to be taken and if the event is expected to continue for a long period of time, relief staff
should be organised.
When conditions improve the IC (via carers and staff) assesses Flying-fox mortality and Flyingfoxes still in care. Animals are either released if healthy enough, or retained in care for
further treatment. IC scales down or terminates the event once conditions improve and all
Flying-foxes have been assessed.

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Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

13 REFERENCES
Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System, 2006. DSE website,
www.dse.vic.gov.au.
DSE (2005). Flying-fox Campsite Management Plan. Yarra Bend Park. DSE, Melbourne.
Flying-fox Information and Care Network (2005a). The Flying-fox Manual Health and
Treatment Hypothermia Heat Stress. Website 2006.
Flying-fox Information and Care Network (2005b). The Flying-fox Manual Health and
Treatment Dehydration. Website 2006.
Leslie S. Hall and Gregory Richards 2000. Flying-foxes: fruit and blossom bats of Australia.
University of New South Wales Press Ltd, Sydney.
Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner (2993) Emergency Management Manual
Victoria. Victorian Emergency Management Council.
R. van der Ree, .J. McDonnell, I. Temby, J. Nelson, and E Whittingham (2005) The
establishment and dynamics of a recently established urban camp of Flying-foxes (Pteropus
poliocephalus) outside their geographic range. Journal of Zoology 268 (2006) 177-185.
Vincent, M., Prendergast, R., Lynch, M. (2002) Guidelines for the management of captive
Grey-headed Flying-foxes (Pteropus poliocephalus). Horseshoe Bend, Ivanhoe. Zoos Victoria.
Wires (Undated) Mass Disaster Incident Guidelines for Grey Headed Flying-fox. Coffs Harbour
Districts Branch.

Personal Communications
Baker, Rupert, Healesville Sanctuary
Bodley, Kate, Melbourne Zoo.
Brown, Bev, Wildlife Victoria.
Cash, Emma, Wildlife Victoria.
Davidson, Megan, Friends of Bats.
Eby, Peggy, Royal Zoological Society NSW and
editor of Managing the Grey-headed Fly-fox as a
threatened species in NSW.
Fernee, Sandy, Wildlife Victoria.
Fowler, Anne Dr. Veterinarian Torquay Animal
House Veterinary Clinic.
Garratt, Denise, Help for Wildlife.
Hughes, Stuart, Parks Victoria.
Jude, Libby, Parks Victoria.
Kitchen, Ian, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria.

Page 51 of 80

Lumsden, Lindy, DSE


Lynch, Peter, Parks Victoria.
Manhal, Michelle, Help for Wildlife
Marshall, Iain, Parks Victoria.
McHugh, Michelle, DSE.
McLaren, Iain, DPI.
Murphy, Tony, Victoria Advocates for Animals.
Nantes, Ed. Friends of Bats Victoria.
Nelson, John, Bat researcher.
Norman, Ian, Arthur Rylah Institute, DSE.
Pope, Lawrence, Victorian Advocates for Animals.
Temby, Ian, DSE.
Thomas, Michelle, Wildlife Victoria.
van der Ree, Rodney, ARCUE.
Winfield, Mark, DSE.

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

14 APPENDICES
Appendices are provided on the following pages

Page 52 of 80

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Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

APPENDIX 1: Data Sheet - Grey-headed Flying-foxes taken into care


Date of Event:
Please record the following data
Time of
Grid reference,
intervention
Tag number,
Microchip
number & nail
polish mark
14:35hrs
G7, Microchip
xxxx, red mark
on toe,

Recorder/Carer Name:

Sex &
Age

Forearm
length
(cm)

Weight
(gm)

General
condition/
demeanour (pre
treatment)

Treatment

General condition/
demeanour
(post treatment)

Male
Juvenile

156mm

200gms

Skin doesnt
bounce back,
lethargic, rapid
breathing,
disorientation

Immersed,
Oral 8mls diluted apple juice,
Sub-cut 5mls,

Alert, able to hang and


beginning to climb,
no longer panting,
skin showing normal
elasticity

Page 53 of 80

Outcome
(release time,
kept for
further
treatment)
Released
17:00hrs

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Time of
intervention

Grid reference,
Tag number,
Microchip
number & nail
polish mark

Sex &
Age

Forearm
length
(cm)

Weight
(gm)

General
condition/
demeanour (pre
treatment)

Treatment

General condition/
demeanour
(post treatment)

Outcome
(release time,
kept for
further
treatment)

If an animal has died, refer to the Bellbird or Golf Course Coordinator who will collect the relevant data above and also note where it was found, if it died in care, the suspected
cause of death and how the body will be disposed of (IC will contact DPI Attwood in the first instance).

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Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

APPENDIX 2:
Roles - Yarra Bend Park Grey-headed Flying-fox Heat Stress Event
IMPORTANT: ONLY PEOPLE THAT ARE FULLY VACCINATED (USING THE
MERIEUX INACTIVATED RABIES VACCINE) SHOULD HANDLE FLYINGFOXES.
People that regularly come in contact with Flying-foxes must have their
serum tested for rabies antibody every two years, and receive a booster
vaccine if their antibody count is inadequate.
If you are bitten or scratched, wash the wound carefully with soap and
water for at least 5 minutes. Do not scrub the wound but do wash it
thoroughly. Following washing with soap, all bites should be cleaned with
antiseptic with antiviral action (e.g. povidone iodine or iodine tincture).
Contact your doctor who will contact the Department of Human Services to
arrange appropriate treatment that may include vaccination or booster
vaccination.

For an individual heat stress event, names of people allocated specific


roles and their contact phone numbers are required.
All trunk radios should use Conventional DSE-FFF-200 channel. The
following people will have a trunk radio Incident Controller, Golf Course
Coordinator, Bellbird Coordinator, Boat Coordinator.
Name/Role

Organisation

Role Description

Incident
Controller

DSE

Golf Course
Coordinator

ARCUE or
DSE

Directs the overall response operation and


coordinates the activities of the various
organisations
Gives initial briefing
First Aid (identifies officer(s) with appropriate
first aid certificate)
Approve removal of first animals that needs to
be taken into care.
Brief all volunteers on the DSE treatment
Golf
protocols
Course
Brief any newcomers on the operation and
ensure they are registered
Manage and supervise all volunteers on golf
course side under direction from IC
Decide what animals require more intensive
care
Initially, IC should authorise the retrieval of the
first animal taken into care. Subsequent
animals can be approved for removal by the
Golf Course Coordinator, ensuring that the IC
is kept informed of the numbers of animals
Page 55 of 80

Proposed
location
posted
IMT
Bellbird
picnic
shelter

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Bellbird
Coordinator

DSE

Boat
Coordinator

DSE

Runner/Logis
tics

DSE

taken into care.


Ensure location from which any animal is
removed is marked according to marking
protocols (section 5.4)
Ensure any animal removed is marked by tying
flagging tape to ankle and recording the same
reference as location from which they are
obtained
Ensure details of each animal treated are
recorded on the treatment data sheet
Collect data from dead Flying-foxes
In conjunction with security staff, manage
golfing operations as required.
Brief all volunteers on the DSE treatment
protocols
Manage and supervise all volunteers on the
Bellbird side under direction from IC
Decide what animals require more intensive
care
Initially, obtain approval from IC when first
animal is to be removed from in-situ location
to the caravan. Subsequent animals can be
approved for removal by the Bellbird
Coordinator
Ensure IC is regularly updated with the
numbers of animals that have been removed.
Ensure location from which any animal is
removed is marked with flagging tape and
appropriate reference
Ensure any animal removed is marked by tying
flagging tape to ankle and recording the same
reference as location from which they are
obtained
Ensure details of each animal treated are
recorded on the treatment data sheet
Collect data from dead Flying-foxes
Direct operation of boat for monitoring of
colony behaviour along the river
Conduct shunting via boat of any animals
needing to be transported from Golf Course to
Bellbird
First Aid (providing they have a first aid
certificate)
Collect lunch from appropriate supplier
(previously have used Studley Park Kiosk)
Distribute lunch to Bellbird and Golf Course
volunteers
Distribute snacks to both sides
Collect ice as required and distribute water to

Page 56 of 80

Bellbird

Roaming
along
Yarra
River

Bellbird

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Communications Officer

DSE

Mapping/
Photography

DSE

Tanker
supervisor
Vet
Zoos Victoria
Vet
(Standby)
Media Liaison
(Standby)
Parks
Victoria

DSE

both sides
Other tasks as directed by IC
Manage list of attendees
Take incoming calls when IC is occupied
Maintain Incident log for all issues and
decisions made
Obtain regular weather reports from the
Bureau of Meteorology or by phoning 1196.
Undertake mapping of bat distribution and
numbers, with descriptions of vegetation
Take photos of Flying-foxes, including
clumping, Flying-foxes being treated, Flyingfoxes being released etc.
Direct water tanker

Bellbird

Roaming

Roaming

DPI
Zoos Victoria

Provide veterinary advice as required.


On standby as required for any animal welfare
issue requiring veterinary intervention

Roaming
NA

DSE Media

Media related enquires

NA

Parks Victoria

Park Management
Visitor Management
Induct people going to golf course side
contact the pro shop to get them to notify
golfers of potential issues
Ferry volunteers/equipment from VINC to the
3rd tee area
advise volunteers of golf hazards
advise golfers of volunteers and heat issues in
the Flying-foxes
prevent cars from going near the 3rd tee
ensure any volunteers and staff have been
briefed by the IC

Roaming

Security

Security

Spray
volunteers

Various

Operate portable spray units as directed by


Golf Course or Bellbird Coordinator

Carer group:
Help For
Wildlife
Leader

Help for
Wildlife

Supervise carer volunteers under direction


from Bellbird Coordinator
Ensure regular breaks and hydration of
volunteers
Assessment and treatment of flying-foxes in
line with DSE treatment protocols
Contact Bellbird Coordinator if animal requires
removal for more intensive treatment
Ensure details of each animal treated are
recorded on the treatment data sheet

Page 57 of 80

Golf
Course

Side to
be
allocated
on day
Bellbird

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Roster staff
Treat flying-foxes in line with DSE treatment
protocols
Record details of each animal treated on
treatment log
Contact Bellbird coordinator if animal requires
removal for more intensive treatment

Help for
Wildlife
Volunteers

Help for
Wildlife

Carer group:
Wildlife
Victoria
Leader

Wildlife
Victoria

Wildlife
Victoria
Volunteers

Wildlife
Victoria

Carer Group:
Friends of
Bats
Leader

Friends of
Bats Victoria
(FNCV)

Friends of
Bats
Volunteers

Friends of
Bats Victoria
(FNCV)

Carer group:
Victorian
Advocates
for Animals

VAfA

Management of park visitors


Assistance with pumps

Monitoring
and Post
Event clean
up

ARCUE

Data collection on heat stress event day


Collection of dead animals following day

Supervise carer volunteers under direction


from Golf Course Coordinator
Ensure regular breaks and hydration of
volunteers
Assessment and treatment of flying-foxes in
line with DSE treatment protocols
Contact Golf Course Coordinator if animal
requires removal for more intensive treatment
Do not remove animal until you have
contacted the Golf Course Coordinator
Treat flying-foxes in line with DSE treatment
protocols
Record details of each animal treated on
treatment data sheet
Contact Golf Course coordinator if animal
requires removal for more intensive treatment
Manage and supervise Friends of Bats Victoria
volunteers under direction from IC
Ensure regular breaks and hydration of carers
Assess bat behaviour and movement
Monitor heat stress (visually) in the colony
Observations of bat responses
minimum intervention techniques
Assess bat behaviour and movement
Monitor heat stress (visually) in the colony
Make preliminary in-situ assessment of stress
in individual animals
Contact Bellbird or Golf Course coordinator if
animal requires removal for re-hydration
Map where the animals are moving to

Page 58 of 80

Bellbird

Golf
Course

Golf
Course

Bellbird

Half
Bellbird
Half Golf
Course
(to be
determin
ed on
the day)
Bellbird

Roaming

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

APPENDIX 3: Attendance contact details and sign-in/out sheet


Yarra Park Bend Grey-headed Flying-fox colony
Date:

Declaration (please read):


1. I understand the type of work to be done and will inform the IC
IC Name: _______________________________
if I cannot perform a certain task
2. I have read, understood and agree to abide by the DSE volunteer
code of conduct
Please fill in the details below. Ensure that contact details for the day are clearly written.
Please fill in time finished when leaving the park. This form will be held by the Communications Officer (PH:________________), and can be phoned to
notify finishing of a shift.
Name

Trunk Radio FFF-DSE-200

Organisat
ion
affiliated
with

Time in

Time out

Contact
details for
today (mobile)

Contact details
home/emergency

Page 59 of 80

Trunk radio.
Include: fleet
number, unit
number,

Is the trunk
radio hand
held or in a
vehicle?

Inoculation
status
(Yes/No)

Briefed
(Y/N)

Location posted
(work in teams of
2 if possible). (Golf
Course or Bellbird)

APPENDIX 4:
Micro-chipping Trial Protocol
Yarra Bend Park Grey-headed Flying-fox Management Area
The marking of treated Flying-foxes during a heat stress event with nail polish is not
considered to be reliable for identification in the long term as nail polish can wear off
over time. Due to this, micro-chipping is being considered for trial for potential future
heat stress events.
The microchip is implanted under the loose skin of the neck on the midline between
the shoulder blades, using an applicator (specifically designed syringe) in a procedure
similar to administering a vaccination. Each microchip is individually inscribed and
programmed with a unique, permanent identification code. After implantation, the
device remains with the animal for life, where it provides the animal's unique ID
number anytime it is scanned by a compatible electronic ID scanner.
The advantages of micro-chipping is that it cant wear off or drop off, enabling the
animal to be identified anytime in the future, with a compatible scanner. This protocol
for trailing micro-chipping of treated Flying-foxes has been developed with the advice
of Zoos Victoria veterinarians.
The process that will be trialled is as follows:

It is important to ensure that micro-chipping a treated Flying-fox does not


cause additional stress to the animal. Therefore only Flying-foxes that are
sufficiently recovered from heat illness and are deemed to be fit for release
will be micro-chipped. All animals that are being released MUST be microchipped.
The IC must be consulted each time a Flying-fox is to be micro-chipped.
Micro-chipping will occur at a designated micro-chipping station (e.g. caravan)
and will be carried out by a veterinarian.
DSE is considering the use of other trained persons for the micro-chipping
procedure. This may include trained ARCUE staff.
Persons nominated to carry out the micro-chipping must be inoculated.
Those flying-foxes that are taken into longer-term care and require a vet
examination can be micro-chipped by the attending veterinarian.
All Flying-foxes taken into care should be scanned as a routine/regular thing.
They may have been micro-chipped during a previous heat stress event or as
part of another project.
The flying-fox should be scanned with an ISO scanner prior to micro-chipping.
This will ensure that any animal micro-chipped at a previous heat stress event
is not micro-chipped for a second time. The microchip should also be scanned
prior to implantation, to check the identification number is correct and the
microchip is functioning.
Two people are required to microchip the animal.
o The first person should restrain the flying-fox with the dorsal midline
(back line) facing upwards on a flat surface. The animal should be
restrained with both hands, one placed behind the head/neck and a
second around the body and wings. If needed a towel could be used
for this purpose to stop the animal flapping.

Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

The second operator should microchip the animal. The fur on the
dorsal midline between the shoulder blades should be parted and the
skin sterilised at the point that the microchip will be inserted with an
alcohol swab, reducing the chance of infection at the site of the
microchip implantation. The skin should be held and pulled away from
the body to allow access to the subcutaneous space and the microchip
implanted.
o After insertion the skin edges at the insertion site should be held
together and vet bond (a tissue-safe superglue) applied to the site.
o The microchip number must be recorded on the data sheet along with
the animals ID number.
Nail polish is still to be used as a visual tagging method for ease of
identification during a heat stress event.
o

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APPENDIX 5:
Soft Release Protocol
GREY-HEADED FLYING-FOX RELEASE GUIDELINES
Release Process:
The entire release weaning process is expected to take a total of 4 weeks.
The process includes the following stages:

Days 1-7 care within the confinement of the enclosure to ensure they are
acclimatised to the weather, feeding on their own and accustomed to the
presence of the colony,
Days 8-10 uninhibited access to both the enclosure and the wild colony as a
means of providing supplementary feeding.
Days 10-28 supplementary feeding outside of the enclosure only i.e. the
enclosure no longer in use.
Days 28-30 the release enclosure will be dismantled, removed from the site
and stored for future use after heat stress events if required.
On completion a meeting will be held with representatives from all groups to debrief
on the success and / or challenges of the release. This meeting will be facilitated by
the DSE.
General Servicing:
Flying-foxes should be serviced once daily and preferably late in the day to ensure
food stays fresh.
Wildlife Victoria volunteers will service the site.
Disturbance should be kept to a minimum and servicing should be carried out as
quickly as possible. There should be no interaction between flying-foxes and
volunteers.
All volunteers must check in and out daily with Parks Victoria, Yarra Bend.
Monday to Thursday: volunteers must check in prior to each visit at the Parks
Victoria office and collect the site access key. Upon completion of servicing
the flying-foxes, volunteers must check out and return the key to the Parks
Victoria office.

Friday: volunteers must check in prior to each visit at the Parks Victoria office
and collect the site access key. Upon completion of servicing the flying-foxes,
volunteers must check out at the Parks Victoria office and then deliver the site
access key to Sandy Fernee (Wildlife Victoria flyingfox volunteer coordinator).

Saturday: volunteers collect the site access key from Sandy Fernee.
Volunteers must telephone the Parks Victoria Yarra Bend Ranger (phone:
9488-3999, the call will be diverted to the rangers mobile telephone) prior to
entering the site and again when servicing is completed. The site access key
must be returned to Sandy Fernee.

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Sunday: volunteers collect the site access key from Sandy Fernee. Volunteers
must telephone the Parks Victoria Yarra Bend Ranger (phone: 9488-3999, the
call will be diverted to the rangers mobile telephone) prior to entering the site
and again when servicing is completed. The service access key must be
returned to the Parks Victoria office and slid underneath the door (the first
glass door to the left of the main entrance door of the Parks Victoria office).
The number of volunteers servicing the site at any one time should not exceed two
persons.
The DSE advises that volunteers must vacate the site one and a half (1) hours prior
to sunset to avoid disturbance of the wild colony.
Buckets, cleaning equipment, rubbish bin and the first-aid kit are to be stored in the
Parks Victoria store room (behind RMIT house). Food can be stored in the fridge in
this store room. Water facilities are available for cleaning.

The enclosure should be cleaned daily of faeces and leftover food scraps.
All waste should be removed from the enclosure site and disposed of at the
Parks Victoria store room in the bins provided.
Dirty food buckets should be transported from the enclosure to the store room
for cleaning. Once cleaned, the food buckets should be left in the store room
for the next days volunteers to collect.
Vehicle access to the golf course is permitted to facilitate transport of food,
the first-aid kit, cleaning equipment etc to the site as long as the following
guidelines are adhered to:
The number plate and model/make of the vehicle is registered with Parks
Victoria Yarra Bend prior to access,
An induction to the site and track is carried out by either Parks Victoria staff or
Sandy Fernee prior to access,
Volunteers must ensure that the hazard lights of the vehicle are on when
driving on the track through the golf course.
During wet weather vehicles stay on the track,
Note: a map will be provided with track details.
Prior to entering the fairway volunteers must check it is safe to enter by
visually observing the teeing ground and fairway to ensure that golfers are not
in the process of teeing off or striking a ball. Volunteers must be continually
aware in case of stray golf balls.
A wheel barrow will be left at the end of the golf course track to facilitate
transport of materials to the enclosure.

Diet:
Fresh water should be available while the animals are being supplementary fed.
Fresh water should be transported to the enclosure and then used to replace flyingfox drinking water daily. A water bottle will be stored at the Parks Vic store room for
this purpose.
Recommended diets for Grey-headed Flying-foxes consist of soft, ripe fruit (e.g.
apple, banana, pawpaw, pear, melon, peaches, plums, fresh figs, mangoes and
pears) and chopped vegetables in small quantities (e.g. sweet potato, carrot, lettuce).

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In addition, the flowers of melaleucas, banksias, eucalypts and other blossoms may
be provided. Most fruits and vegetables should be chopped into small 1-2 cm2 pieces
so that flying-foxes do not drop them onto the floor of the enclosure whilst feeding, a
common problem when using large pieces of fruit. Homogenized fruits are not
suitable, as these may impair the absorption of nutrients, or cause bowel prolapses
due to the larger quantities of fibrous material consumed.
As part of the release weaning process less favourable food items should be fed. This
is to assist with encouraging the flying-foxes to seek out natural food.
For this reason 2/3 of the diet should consist of apples and the remaining 1/3 should
consist of a minimum of two other fruit species.
Days 0-7
350 grams of food should be offered per flying-fox
Days 7-14
280 grams of food should offered per flying-fox
Days 14-21
220 grams of food should be offered per flying-fox
Sample Daily Diet for days 0-7
Apple
And any two of the following:
Banana
Pear
Paw Paw
Figs

250g
50g
50g
50g
50g

Flying-fox Health monitoring:


Healesville Sanctuary will conduct a physical health inspection of each flying-fox as
they are released into the enclosure and then a visual inspection on day seven prior
to the opening of the flight door.
Volunteers should visually inspect the appearance of each flying-fox daily, and take
note of the amount of food consumption.
A notebook is available at the enclosure to record observations and to assist with
communicating information between volunteers.
Health concerns (such as physical injury and inactivity) should be recorded in the
notebook and reported to Healesville Sanctuary immediately (Contact details below).
Volunteers should not attempt to restrain Flying-foxes.
Security:
DSE and Parks Victoria staff will patrol the site on a regular basis.
A mock security camera will be attached to the top of the cage to deter inappropriate
behaviour towards the flying-foxes.
Health and Safety Requirements for Volunteers:
Zoos Victoria reminds all volunteers that their safety comes first.
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All volunteers attending the site should have a site induction by Parks Victoria or
Sandy Fernee.
All volunteers caring for the flying-foxes must be fully vaccinated (using the Merieux
Inactivated Rabies Vaccine) and familiar with the potential contraction of diseases
flying-foxes (see information below).
A first-aid kit is stored in the Parks Victoria Store room and should be brought down
to the enclosure each day while the flying-foxes are being serviced.
Personal protective equipment should be worn during handling and servicing of the
flying-fox enclosures. This includes:
protective gloves (e.g. dishwashing or surgical gloves)
closed-toe footwear (e.g. Boots)
long-sleeved shirts and long-pants
eye protection (such as safety glasses)
masks (e.g. surgical or dust mask)
Note: disposable surgical gloves, safety glasses and surgical masks will be provided
and stored in the Parks Victoria store room.
Hands should be thoroughly washed after coming into contact with any flyingfox contaminants and after completion of servicing with chlorhexidine hand
wash. Clorhexidine hand wash will be stored in the Parks Victoria store room.
If a bite or scratch occurs that breaks the skin, or if flying-fox saliva contacts
the skin, the area is to be immediately washed with soap and water for at
least 5 minutes. Following washing, the area is cleaned with an antiseptic with
antiviral action (e.g. povidone iodine or iodine tincture). People should then
contact their local doctor who will contact the Department of Human Services
to arrange appropriate treatment. Any bites and / or scratches should be
reported to the DSE immediately.

Additional Health Concerns for Volunteers:


Viral Diseases
Of greatest concern is the risk of exposure to recently described viruses that have
been reported in this species. Human deaths have been associated with a rabies-like
virus, Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL) and a paramyxovirus, Hendra virus. A third
agent, Menangle virus has been associated with fevers in humans (Hume, 2001).
a) Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL)
ABL is a virus agent closely related to the classical rabies virus (Tidemann et al, 1997)
and produces a similar clinical syndrome. To date there have been two human
fatalities associated with this virus, but this is thought to be widespread in both
megachiropteran and microchiropteran bats. In bats the clinical disease can range
from mild illness to paralysis and even death. ABL infection should be considered in
any flying-foxes behaving unduly aggressively, vocalising abnormally, having an
inability to fly, or being found on the ground and not trying to escape. It is believed
that bats in general may carry the disease without clinical signs. ABL is known to
occur within the population at the Royal Botanic Gardens, as a Grey-headed Flyingfox has been found moribund in the Gardens with this virus (D. Middleton,
pers.comm.). Antibodies to the disease have not been found in blood tests performed
on samples of flying-foxes from the colony, so it is suspected that the disease
incidence is low. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Australia,

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estimates an overall prevalence of ABL in bat populations in the order of 1%. The
prevalence of virus in sick and injured animals is around 7% and as it is this group
that is most likely to come into contact with humans, all care should be taken.
It is thought that ABL is transferred via the saliva and so biting is the most common
means of transmission (Tidemann et al, 1997). It is possible, though less likely for the
disease to be transferred by exposure of open cuts or mucous membranes to saliva or
blood. Scratches also constitute a possible transmission route if infected saliva is
present (Kureishi, et al, 1992. in Tidemann et al, 1997). Contact with urine or faeces
do not constitute a transmission risk for this disease. Flying-foxes should not be
vaccinated against rabies, as antibodies that may be induced by the vaccine would
interfere with disease detection in the population. Additionally, the degree of
protection the vaccine would confer on the flying-foxes is essentially unknown, so a
scenario where the vaccine allows the animals survival while it continues to shed
virus is not out of the question.
b) Hendra Virus
Hendra virus, formally known as Equine morbillivirus, is an agent that has been
associated with acute respiratory disease in humans and horses with at least 2 human
fatalities (Hume, 2001). Flying-foxes are thought to carry the virus without suffering
clinical disease. The virus can be spread in urine and saliva, and in horses it has been
shown that infection can occur through ingestion or inhalation (Williamson, 1998).
About 19% of over 100 flying foxes from the Botanical Gardens were found to have
antibodies to this disease (D. Middleton, pers.comm.).
There is no vaccination for Hendra virus and how contagious the virus is to humans is
unknown.
c) Menangle Virus
This virus was isolated from a NSW piggery where stock were suffering from
reproductive disease. It was found that two workers displaying influenza-like
symptoms had antibodies to the virus. Little is known about the epidemiology of this
disease, but around 30% of flying-foxes had antibodies to the virus (Ross, 2001).
Bacterial Diseases

Salmonella sp. are capable of causing gastrointestinal diseases in a wide range of


animals. This bacteria also poses a zoonotic risk via faecal contamination. An
unclassified Pasteurella species has been associated with lung and subcutaneous
abscesses in a flying-fox. Death from Enterobacter agglomerans, Klebsiella
pneumoniae, Escherichia coli and Proteus mirabilis have been reported in flying-foxes
compromised by poor air circulation in indoor enclosures.
A recent study found antibodies to seven Leptospira sp serovars in a number of
Australian flying fox species. The bacteria is excreted in the urine and can be
transmitted through abraded skin and mucous membrane contact (eyes, nose,
mouth). Some serovars are capable of causing serious disease in humans and care
should be taken to avoid exposure (Smythe,. et al, 2002).
Fungal Diseases

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Histoplasmosis (Histoplasmosis capsulatum) is an airborne fungus that affects the


lungs of mammals and is significance as it also presents a zoonotic risk. It is
contracted from breathing dust in enclosed areas such as caves or mines that contain
infected bat faeces. In Australia, human infections have been associated with
microchiropteran colonies, but not flying-foxes (Stevenson and Hughes, 1988).
References:
Hume, I. Novel viruses of pteropoid bats disease emergence factors.
Proceedings, Veterinary Conservation Biology, Sydney, July 2001. Pp. 237-240.
Kureishi, A., Xu, L.Z., Wu, H., Stiver, H.G.1992.
Rabies in China: recommendations for control. Bull. WHO 70(4):443-450.
Ross, T. 2001. Megachiroptera and menangle virus in Australia.
Proceedings, Veterinary Conservation Biology, Sydney. July 2001. Pp. 241-244.
Smythe, L.D. et al (2002).
Leptospiral antibodies in flying foxes in Australia. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 38: 182-186.
Tidemann, C. R., Vardon, M.J., Nelson, J.E., Speare, R. & Gleeson, L.J. 1997.
Health and conservation implications of Australian Bat Lyssavirus.
Australian Zoologist 30: 369-376.
Williamson, M. M. et al. 1998. Transmission studies of Hendra virus in fruit bats, horses and cats.
Aust. Vet. Journal. 76: 813-818.

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APPENDIX 6:
Record of annotations to the Protocols for management of Greyheaded Flying-foxes at Yarra Bend Park during Heat stress events.
The following annotations to the protocol were made based on experiences from heat
stress events during past seasons and feedback received during Grey-headed Flyingfox Heat Stress Debriefs.
Comment / Topic
Revised risk levels based on
extreme temperatures
experienced during heat stress
events of the 2009 summer
season.
Risk to adult male bats during
lead up to mating season (mid
Jan to March)
Extreme heat stress events
will require additional actions

Response
Ensuring the risk levels are
revised based on increased
impact of extreme conditions

Alteration to protocols
Added to Section 4.1 and
updated Chart 3

Highlighting this time of year in


the triggers alongside risky time
of year for juveniles
Explain additional actions
required for Extreme heat stress
events
Reiterate in protocols

Added to Section 4.1 and


updated Chart 3

General OHS - Risks


associated with heat stress
events needs to be
emphasised
New behaviour noted in 2009 Describe behaviour, map out
with bats clustering in cypress locations of where bats were
pines on the golf course in
gathering
very large numbers
New spraying option large
Include notes about slip tank in
slip tank unit
protocols and additional actions
for Extreme Events
Investigating mobile spray
Currently looking into best
units
options
Use of wheelie bins to collect
deceased bats
Cold storage and incineration
options for deceased bats
Processing of deceased bats
must not take place at PV
depot

Added Section 4.5

Bold paragraph included


Section 5.2, refers to
Section 10 for full info
Noted in Section 5.2
Map 2 added.

Noted in Section 5.2


Added Section 4.5

Include in Protocols

Will be added to
equipment list when
purchased
Noted in Section 5.2

Include in Protocols

Noted in Section 5.2

Detail where appropriate site is

Noted in Section 5.2

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Bats were not transported


correctly, too many placed
into baskets
Investigating euthanasia
training for carers
Equipment List
Communication at heat stress
events

Revised staffing levels for


extreme heat stress events
Key Contact list
Fire evacuation should be
communicated and practised
as heat stress event days are
often high fire risk days
New activities trialled during
2009 heat stress events
Recognition of new
contributors
Soft Release process

Show extra key locations on


map

Emphasise the correct method


of transporting animals during a
heat stress event
Include this information under
section re: euthanasia
Equipment list update
Communication responsibilities
will be clarified to DSE staff to
ensure all carers and volunteers
are sufficiently informed.
Update of staffing levels table

Clarified as separate
section within 5.2
Added in Section 5.2
Section 6.1 & 6.2
New section 3.4 Contact
network and
communication
responsibilities
Section 7.4

Key Contact list updated


Emphasised in Evacuation
Plan section

Section 7.6
Section 8.2

List activities and outcomes

Table 4 updated, Section


11
Updated, Section 13

Update references
Add mention of soft release to
bats in care section and soft
release process to appendix
Amend map to show extra key
locations

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Added Section 5.2


Appendix 5
Map 3 amended

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Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

APPENIDIX 7

GHFF COLONY HEAT STRESS MONITORING SHEET


Date:

Predicted Maximum Temperature

Monitor/s:

Monitoring of the Grey-headed Flying-fox colony is initiated when temperatures progress toward 35C or 38C, depending on the time of year, and particularly
with consecutive preceding hot days, low humidity and hot dry northerly winds.
DSE Officers will monitor the colony in shifts, as designated by the Incident Controller. Each shift should be approx 1-2hrs, or as long as required to
adequately observe the condition of the Flying-foxes. Shifts should continue into the afternoon, until temperatures begin to drop or the threat is considered to
be decreasing (e.g. sundown). It is advisable that each monitor visit the site on more than one occasion over the duration of the day in order to gain
comparable observations.
When monitoring the Flying-fox colony, the monitors should first visit the Bellbird side of the river and assess the four primary monitoring points as described
in Table 5 and Map 3. Conditions at these sites should be reported to the IC, at which point he/she will provide advice on monitoring of the secondary sites.
Key behaviours that the Flying-foxes normally exhibit in response to heat stress include:
 Flapping of wings while stationary/roosting
 Holding wings out while stationary
 Moving lower in the vegetation (would normally roost high up in the trees)
 Seeking reprieve in cypress Copse A
 Moving to vegetation patches that provide more shade, e.g. Black wattle
 Dipping into the water for drinking or to cool the belly (particularly adults)
 Panting
More extreme behaviours include (note: these behaviours should be reported to the IC IMMEDIATELY)
 Climbing or dropping to the ground to find cooler areas (particularly younger animals)
 Clumping in cypress pines in large numbers
 Clumping (grouping of Flying-foxes to form clumps from 10s to 100s of Flying-foxes in individual clumps)
Observations should be recorded on the attached sheet AND reported back to the Incident Controller via phone
OTHER POINTS:
 Safety of monitors is paramount. Read and follow the risk control methods in the GHFF Monitoring JSA (see Monitoring Kit, IC folder or the heat stress
coordinator) before entering the field.

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 Sandwich boards used to inform the public that the bats are experiencing heat stress are stored in the toilet block cupboard at the Bellbird Picnic Ground.
These should be placed out, according to positions shown on Map 4, on the advice of the IC or if extreme heat behaviours are observed.
 Visitors at the park politely approach visitors, inform them that the flying-foxes are suffering from heat stress and ask them if they could keep quiet and
avoid areas of the bats where possible.
 To gain updates in temperature, call DSE Fire & Emergency Response (9296 4545) for the most updated temperature reading for Viewbank (if not
possible, then for Melbourne), or the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) (9669 4000) or use the thermometer stored in the Heat Stress Kit

Time of
Location Temp
monitoring
C
(24hr)
(BOM)

Temp
Humidity
(BOM)
C
(Local
reading)

e.g. 1100

Wind
Direction /
speed
(BOM)

Number of
wildlife
carers on
site

Wattle
Copse

35.2

37

16

N
30km/h

5 observing
colony

Copse A

37

39

12

NW
60km/h gusts

None

e.g. 1300

Jetty

39.8

40

12

N
50km/h gusts

e.g. 1400

Copse A

44

45

10

N
60km/h gusts

e.g. 1215

Observations / Behaviour Change

Estimated
Risk
Level

Bats still high up in trees, fanning their


wings but not looking too disturbed. Some
in shadier wattles. Alert on approach. No
clumping. No bats on road side of track
Bats in Copse A, clumping loosely in
cypress trees. Licking and flapping
wings. No clumping, no bats on ground

Low

4 on standby
with water
sprayers

Bats licking wings, low in canopy with


some clumping. Bats dipping into river in
large numbers. 10 bats on ground

High

6 on standby
with water
sprayers

Bats forming tight clumps with animals


packing into inner branches.
Bats clumping on ground around trunk.

Extreme

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Time of
Location Temp
monitoring
C
(24hr)
(BOM)

Temp
Humidity
(BOM)
C
(Local
reading)

Wind
Direction /
speed
(BOM)

Number of
wildlife
carers on
site

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Observations / Behaviour Change

Estimated
Risk
Level

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Table 5: Site Specific Monitoring Guidelines


Site
Jetty

Description
20m up track from the
Bellbird Picnic Ground
Jetty.
Do not monitor from
the jetty as this may
cause distress to
nearby animals.

Observation
Platform

The wooden viewing


platform north of the
Bellbird car park

Wattle Copse

The cluster of wattle


trees at the bottom of
the slope in the walking
track

Wetlands

In front of the GHFF


sign 50m to the NW of
the flood markers

Behaviours to consider
Looking toward the river
- Are bats flapping, panting or licking wings?
- Are bats still high in the canopy of the wattles to the right (north) of the jetty and across the river?
Or have most moved to lower positions?
- Are bats clumping?
- Looking south and directly across from the jetty, are bats dipping into the river?
- If bats are low in the canopy, do they climb away on approach (i.e. are they still alert)?
- Are any bats on the ground seeking cooler conditions?
Looking toward the river
- Are bats distributed across all strata?
- Are bats clumping in wattles directly across the river from the platform?
- Are bats on the ground below the observation platform or on the other side of the river?
- Looking in front and upstream, what numbers of bats are dipping into the water?
Looking toward the river
- Are bats flapping, panting or licking wings?
- Are bats still high in the canopy of these wattles, or have most moved to lower positions?
- If bats are low in the canopy, do they climb away on approach (i.e. are they still alert)?
- Are bats on the ground beneath the wattles?
- Are bats clumping in the trees or on the ground?
- If so, are they densely packed, or is there air flow around each animal?
Looking toward the road
- Are bats roosting in the trees on the road side of the track?
- If so, in what numbers and where in the canopy (upper, mid, lower or against the trunk)?
Looking toward the river
- Are bats flapping, panting or licking wings?
- Are bats still high in the canopy, or have most moved to lower positions?
- If bats are low in the canopy, do they climb away on approach (i.e. are they still alert)?
- Are bats on the ground?
- Are bats clumping in the trees or on the ground?
- If so, are they densely packed, or is there air flow around each animal?

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Vantage point
Copse A

Along the access track


(view from vehicle)
The large triangular
cypress copse

Copse B

The fence and cluster


of trees to the south of
the 14th hole/ the north
of the 11th tee

Copse C

The cypress copse


adjacent to tee 17

Looking toward the road


- Are bats roosting in the trees on the road side of the track?
- If so, in what numbers and where in the canopy (upper, mid, lower or against the trunk)?
Looking toward the river
- Are bats still high in the canopy, or have most moved to lower positions?
- Have bats begun to move into Copse A, in particular the cypress pines?
- If so, in what sort of numbers and are more bats arriving?
- Where in the canopy are the bats situated?
- Are bats on the ground at the base of the trees?
- Are bats clumping in the trees or on the ground?
- If so, are they densely packed, or is there air flow around each animal?
- Have bats moved into the forks of the cypress branches, near the trunk?
- Have bats begun to move onto the fence and into the trees?
- If so, in what sort of numbers and are more bats arriving?
- Are bats on the ground?
- Are bats clumping in the trees or on the ground?
- If so, are they densely packed, or is there air flow around each animal?
- Have bats begun to move into the cypress/pencil pines?
- If so, in what sort of numbers and are more bats arriving?
- Where in the canopy are the bats situated?
- Are bats on the ground?
- Are bats clumping in the trees or on the ground?
- If so, are they densely packed, or is there air flow around each animal?
- Have bats moved into the forks of the cypress/pencil pine branches?

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Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

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Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park

Appendix 8

Code of Conduct for Volunteers


YOUR HELP IS APPRECIATED
Volunteers contribute a great deal to help the Department of Sustainability and Environment. Your assistance is very much appreciated.
You are participating as a volunteer and not as an employee or contractor of the Committee or the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE).

AS A VOLUNTEER YOU CAN EXPECT:






a Volunteer Coordinator to assist with enquiries and provide any instruction necessary for your participation in projects and activities;
as far as practicable a safe and healthy working place and conditions
rewarding work.

AS A VOLUNTEER YOU ARE EXPECTED TO:
















notify the Volunteer Coordinator of any relevant medical conditions and pre-existing injuries before participating in any event or activity;
consent to the Volunteer Coordinator rendering or authorising such medical treatment as necessary and accept responsibility for all associated
expenses;
not smoke, consume or store alcohol or illicit drugs while working on a project site;
respect the rights, feelings and property of all others associated with projects;
co-operate with safety systems put in place by the Volunteer Coordinator to ensure a safe, happy and hygienic team environment;
understand that placement on all projects is at the discretion of the Volunteer Coordinator;
consent to photographs or videos taken on a project to be used by the Committee or the department for promotion purposes, or state your decision
not to participate in photos or video production;
take reasonable care of your own health and safety and the health and safety of others who may be affected by your actions;
provide for yourself all required medication and personal care items;
participate in an induction and safety briefing prior to commencing work activities;
follow any reasonable directions that the Volunteer Coordinator or other authorised persons gives in relation to health and safety and the safe
performance of tasks;
wear appropriate clothing and footwear to undertake activities;
inform the Volunteer Coordinator and sign on when arriving and prior to leaving the activity or site;

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Managing Grey-headed Flying Foxes


Protocols for heat stress events at Yarra Bend Park












be SunSmart, apply sun protection, and wear a hat and long sleeves and long pants;
wear protective clothing and relevant safety equipment when required;
not undertake activities unless under the direction of the Volunteer Coordinator and are appropriately accredited and certified;
not interfere with any safety equipment or processes provided;
report any incidents or hazards including injuries or near misses to the Volunteer Coordinator as soon as practical;
carry out tasks to the best of your ability
not undertake tasks beyond your ability
not speak on behalf of the department
say no to an activity or task you feel uncomfortable about.

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