Researchers say extreme heat has wiped out half a local population of endangered birds on WA’s South Coast.
More than 170 birds have been found dead in Hopetoun.
150 of those are the endangered white-tailed black cockatoo, known as the Carnaby’s Cockatoo.
The Department of Environment and Conservation says they probably perished on Wednesday when temperatures in the region reached as high as 53 degrees.
Raana Scott from Birds Australia says it will have a significant impact on the local population, which was believed to number about 250.
“Very few chicks actually survive to breed themselves, so it’s going to take a very long time for this population to recover, if it can recover,” she said.
Rob Pridham from the Department of Environment and Conservation says it appears Wednesday’s record heat was the main cause of the deaths but investigations are continuing.
“All indications so far is that the deaths have occurred because of the extreme heat and winds that have been prevalent in the last couple of days” he said.
“Speaking to witnesses they’ve actually watched the birds come in for water and virtually die in front of them.”