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Virus researchers fit GPS trackers to flying foxes

Queensland scientists are fitting flying foxes with GPS data loggers as part of the state's ongoing Hendra virus research effort.

“When attached to a flying fox, the GPS data loggers tell us whether the bat is feeding, sleeping or flying, and where it is flying to,” said Tim Mulherin, the state’s agriculture minister, in a statement on 24 August.

“This will help us better understand movement between colonies, which in turn helps modelling when looking at the spread of Hendra virus between bat populations.

“By researching flying fox movements we can provide a clearer picture of why there are more confirmed cases of Hendra virus in some years and during certain months,” he added.

An additional AU$12 million is being provided by the Queensland, New South Wales and Commonwealth governments in a bid to expand and accelerate research into the virus, which has infected 11 horses this year.