2024 Edition

Douglas Gimesy

A Cool Drink from a Helping Hand

Reviving a Grey-headed flying-fox, Australia, 2019

Category - Change Makers: Reasons for Hope

A Cool Drink from a Helping Hand

Melbourne Zoo Veterinarian Sarah Frith gives fluid to a young rescued grey-headed flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) that had succumbed to the heat on a scorching summer's day when temperatures in the shade exceeded 40°C. Rescued near the base of a tree on a golf course in Fairfield, Victoria, Australia, the bat was hydrated and placed in care so that it could be released back into the wild a few days later. Recognised as a keystone species, the grey-headed flying-fox, native to Australia, is vital for forest ecosystem health along the southeast and east coasts of the country. Sometimes called “night gardeners”, this species contributes to the dispersal of seeds and the pollination of more than a hundred plant species. Classified as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the grey-headed flying-fox is suffering from the degradation and destruction of its habitat, and the impacts of climate change, such as extreme heat events.


70-200 mm f/2.8 Lens - 1/500 sec at f/4 ISO 500