Rising temperatures in Rajasthan prove disastrous
JAIPUR: Soaring temperatures and a near total absence of surface water this summer have badly hit unusual customers in South Rajasthan -- the Indian flying foxes. Hundreds of them reportedly perished last week as the temperatures hovered around 45 degrees Celvsius in Banswara, Dungapur and Udaipur districts.
This past Saturday, when the temperature recorded a hitherto highest 44 degrees in Dungarpur, dozens of the species -- scientifically called Petropus Giganteus -- were found dead below the banyan in the compound of the town's Mahrawal Government Higher Secondary School. Flying foxes are social species and several hundreds of individuals roost in the same tree. The authorities said more such deaths could be anticipated.
“They are very susceptible to heat. Whenever the temperature reaches around 43 degrees they stand the risk of sun stroke,” said retired Rajasthan Forest Chief Conservator V.D. Sharma. “The drought conditions and the heat are seemingly having a twin effect on these animals which are found widespread in Rajasthan though South Rajasthan districts have their bigger concentrations due to the green cover and better availability of water,” he noted.
On Sunday, the Forest Department staff counted 162 dead Flying foxes in Doodtalai, a tourist spot in Udaipur district. Some areas in Jhadol tehsil of the district reported more deaths. Unlike in Dungarpur, where the Forest officials termed the animal a “vermin” as it is not a threatened species and so listed only in Schedule IV of the Wildlife Act, the authorities in Udaipur carried out the post-mortem on a specimen which indicated dehydration to be the cause of death. .
In Udaipur the animals were not allowed to go unsung as well. In many parts they are considered sacred. Members from the local Animal Rescue Centre buried the carcasses of the bats.
Chaman Singh of the Rescue Centre said they had tried to save the bats found clinging on to the tree branches in a rather sedate state. “We could see that they were suffering from dehydration. However, even after our efforts to make them drink water they did not survive,” he said. Bats were found dead in Kotra region of Udaipur and in Banswara as well during the past week.