A Change of Guard

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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Heat wave blamed as hundreds of bats die in Siem Reap


Dozens of dead bats litter the ground at Siem Reap’s Phnom Bok temple earlier this week. Photo supplied
Dozens of dead bats litter the ground at Siem Reap’s Phnom Bok temple earlier this week. Photo supplied

Heat wave blamed as hundreds of bats die in Siem Reap
Fri, 22 April 2016 ppp
Bun Sengkong and Igor Kossov


Hundreds of bats have been found dead around Phnom Bok temple in Siem Reap over the past few days, with officials blaming the deaths on the record heat wave.

Bats live in the temple, which has no trees to provide shade, and its stone gets very hot during the day, according to Phoung Lyna, head of Siem Reap’s environment department.

A nearby temple also has bats, but none of them died because of the shady trees around it, he said.

“The bats started to die from April 10 until now,” said Lyna, who explained that many bats had moved into the temple over the past few months for unknown reasons.

“They live in the holes of the temples . . . A lot of bats died in the past few days.”

Long Kosal, spokesman for the Apsara Authority, which oversees the temple, and Banteay Srei District Governor Tor Son confirmed the deaths.

This month has been the hottest on record in Cambodia, according to government and independent meteorologists.

Chhith Sam Ath, country director of World Wildlife Fund, said that the heat wave is a “major concern” for animals, which sometimes struggle to regulate their body temperatures and find enough drinking water.

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