What a privilege it has been again this year, being able to go up to the Atherton Tablelands to help look after the Bat Hospital whilst Jenny Maclean was on a well-deserved holiday!
Being at the Bat Hospital gives me such an insight as to the difficulties Flying-foxes are facing! The main species of Flying-fox in care at the Bat Hospital are the Spectacled Flying-foxes (stunning and very inquisitive) and the Little Red Flying-foxes (extremely shy and highly social with each other, roosting in such tight little clumps, protecting one another).
My main job at the Hospital was to take care of the two beautiful (and as Jenny says – naughty!) Kelpie dogs – Milla and Guiree, and to look after the Microbats and to help Meg Churches (Sydney WIRES) with the Flying-foxes.
So after 3 weeks, back in Adelaide and missing the entire experience! There is always an opportunity to go back at any time to help – especially when the birthing season is in full swing, together with ‘ tick paralysis’ season which coincides with birthing season. Tick paralysis kills many, many Spectacled Flying-foxes and leaves the babies – called pups – orphaned and starving.
Barbed-wire fencing and incorrect wildlife unfriendly netting also kills many of these precious, threatened, important species! Flying-foxes are an essential part of our ecology as they are native plant pollinators and seed dispersers of many native fruits too!
So, if you ever get the opportunity to volunteer at the Tolga Bat Hospital, DO IT! You will be amazed at how the appreciation for these misunderstood mammals (they only have one baby per year if that!) will grow! Please be vaccinated though so that you can handle these wonders!
Here are some pictures to share! More photographs being uploaded soon!