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The November 2018 heat wave occurred at the start of the birthing season, leaving hundreds of orphaned flying foxes. David White

By Jason Bittel

Weighing up to two pounds and with wingspans approaching five feet, spectacled flying foxes are among the largest bats in the world. Now imagine what it would be like if 23,000 of them fell out of the trees and onto, say, your car or backyard pool.

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Fire burns in Jumbuck, Australia on March 4. Fire crews are battling more than 20 bushfires ablaze in southeast Victoria. Darrian Traynor / Getty Images

As many as 19 wildfires were burning in the Southeastern Australian state of Victoria on Monday, forcing thousands to flee their homes, CNN reported.

Lightning strikes last week were the immediate cause of the fires, Victoria emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp said, according to CNN. Two of the fires, at Bunyip and Yinnar South in West Gippsland, destroyed nine buildings, including homes, on Sunday, The Guardian reported. As of Monday, more than 2,000 firefighters were working to control the blazes.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef. Marco Brivio / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

The Great Barrier Reef faces yet "another nail in the coffin," Dr. Simon Boxall from the National Oceanography Centre Southampton told BBC News Friday.

That is because the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has approved plans to dump one million tonnes (approximately 1.1 million U.S. tons) of sludge into the World Heritage Site. The decision comes in the same month that runoff from flooding in Queensland, Australia threatened to smother part of the reef and two years after the unique ecosystem was weakened by back-to-back coral bleaching events caused by climate change.

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The Bramble Cay melomys. State of Queensland / CC BY 3.0 AU

A small Australian rat that lived on a 12 acre island in the Great Barrier Reef has become the first mammal to go extinct primarily because of human-caused climate change, the Australian Government confirmed Monday.

The Bramble Cay melomys was first declared extinct after a 2014 search on Bramble Cay, its native island in the Torres Strait, between Queensland, Australia and Papua New Guinea, according to a 2016 report by the University of Queensland and the Queensland government.

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A NASA worldview image showing runoff from Queensland, Australia floods heading towards the Great Barrier Reef. NASA

Muddy water from historic flooding in Queensland, Australia is now flowing out of rivers into the sea, threatening even the outer shelves of the Great Barrier Reef some 60 kilometers (approximately 37.3 miles) from the coast, Australia's ABC News reported Friday.

Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) water quality team leader Dr. Frederieke Kroon told ABC News that the runoff covered "an extraordinarily large area." Researchers said it is likely filled with nitrogen pollution and pesticides, and poses a risk to the health of a reef already damaged by back-to-back coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017.

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Seen is a general view of a blocked major intersection in the flooded Townsville suburb of Idalia on Feb. 04, 2019 in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. Ian Hitchcock / Getty Images

An estimated 500,000 are feared dead after historic floods inundated Queensland, Australia, according to News.com.au, citing the state's cattle industry.

Financial losses are estimated at $300 million Australian dollars (about $212 million U.S.).

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A flooded area of Townsville, Australia on Feb. 4. Ian Hitchcock / Getty Images

A once-in-a-century flooding disaster in northeast Queensland, Australia forced authorities in the city of Townsville to fully open the floodgates of the Ross River dam on Sunday night, causing nearly 2,000 cubic meters (approximately 70,629 cubic feet) of water to pour out of the dam every second from 9 p.m., News.com.au reported.

"We've never seen anything like this before," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Today, according to News.com.au. "In Queensland, of course, we're used to seeing natural disasters, but Townsville has never seen the likes of this."

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Australia has suffered from frequent drought. CSIRO

Hey President Trump, here's some of that global warming you were asking for. As much of the northern hemisphere shudders through a blistering winter, in Australia, where it's the middle of summer, temperatures for the month of January were the hottest on record, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology confirmed Friday.

The extreme weather has sparked wildfires in the drought-ridded south. Australian Open tennis players fainted, vomited and hallucinated, heat-stressed bats literally fell out of trees and wild horses died en masse from thirst. Meanwhile, the tropical north has been battered by historic flooding and rainfall.

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Seen is a flooded street in the suburb of Railway Estate on Feb. 1 in Townsville, Australia. Ian Hitchcock / Getty Images

A disaster was declared in Townsville in Queensland, Australia after heavy rainfall caused a landslide Thursday that prompted police to order evacuations of properties including an apartment complex, Australia's ABC News reported. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk closed all schools and childcare centers in the area Friday as the rain is expected to keep falling through the weekend.

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Wild horses found dead in central Australia amid a searing heat wave. Ralph Turner / Alice Springs Community Forum / Facebook

About two dozen wild horses were found dead in central Australia last week, Australia's national broadcaster ABC News reported.

The decomposing horses were strewn along a 100-meter stretch by a dried-up waterhole called the "Deep Hole" near the remote community of Santa Teresa in Australia's Northern Territory.

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The Great Australian Bight is home to one of only two southern right whale calving grounds in the world. Bob Adams / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Australia's petroleum regulator granted permission for seismic blasting in the Great Australian Bight, sparking fierce outcry from environmentalists over its threat to the area's marine life, whihc include endangered blue and southern right whales.

On Monday, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) gave the green light to oil and gas exploration services company PGS Australia's application for seismic surveys off the coast of South Australia's Kangaroo Island and Eyre Peninsula between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30 this year.

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