A heartbreaking Facebook post has shown the devastating toll of the extreme heatwave conditions facing Australia.
The post shares images of often unseen victims of extreme weather – animals – showing two dozen dead brumbies at the base of a dry waterhole called Deep Hole, near Santa Teresa in Central Australia.
The region has been struggling through a heatwave, with two weeks of temperatures exceeding 42 degrees celsius.
The mass grave of horses was discovered by a group of local community members who anticipated the water levels at Deep Hole would be low. They instead discovered it completely dried up, something that had never happened before.
There the group found the dead, partially decomposing wild horse carcasses stretching around 100 metres. The animals are believed to have died of dehydration and heat.
Ralph Turner, who took the photos, said it was “just terrible to know these beautiful animals died this way”.
Santa Teresa media mentor Rohan Smyth said the community was now deeply concerned about the welfare of the local wild horse population, as well as possible pollution to Deep Hole and other waterways the dead animal’s carcasses could cause.
“The prospect of any living creatures perishing in this way has left many locals devastated,” he wrote.
“This event, along with other recent instances of mass animal deaths, including recent fish deaths in the Riverina calls the community to wonder what steps are our leaders taking to tackle the effects of climate change in the future and what steps can we all take to prevent the suffering of innocent animals across our country.”
Just a day after Smyth shared the Facebook post, the Central Land Council (CLC) held an emergency meeting at a different community after rangers found 120 dying camels, horses and donkeys congregated at a water source.
Northern Territory Department of Environment and Natural Resources wildlife use and pest animals manager Tim Clancy told the ABC that feral animals caused damage to the environment.
Despite this, local communities shared a connection with them.
“They’re a pest, they’re also a resource for some people and they’re also valued culturally,” he said.
The Santa Teresa community and CLC will meet on Wednesday to discuss how to dispose of the horse carcasses and avoid further mass animal deaths.
Mamamia has reached out to Smyth for further comment.