Michele Castley-Wright has five baby bats in her care. It is the worst year ever for baby bats needing to be rescued. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
FAR North wildlife carers are trying to raise money to build a large aviary for rehabilitating baby flying foxes before they are released back into the wild.
More than 160 orphaned spectacled flying foxes are currently being treated by local carers, who will be looking to release the protected species once they are mature enough to look after themselves.
Bat carer Michele Castley-Wright said that they were hoping to establish a release facility on a carer’s heavily vegetated property at Speewah to help relieve pressure on the volunteers.
The 2m-high, 8m-long facility is hoped to be built before April, when a seasonal flying fox colony is expected to visit the property.
“What we’re hoping is that with all the orphans we’ve got this season, if we can get it up in time, then we can put all the babies in there, in creche, and release them from there when the colony flies in, in April,” she said.
“It’s also got no power lines around there, it’s all trees, it’s just a much safer release site than releasing in, say, somewhere where there are power lines and it is built up.”
Ms Castley-Wright, who is currently caring for seven baby bats, estimated the facility would cost about $5000 to build.
“We’ve got all the labour, but we need to buy supplies and stuff to actually build it,” she said.
Flying foxes are crucial to keeping native forests healthy and play an important role in dispersing seeds and pollinating flowering plants.
Orphaned flying foxes are occasionally sent to the Tolga Bat Hospital on the Atherton Tablelands for release, however, it can be expensive to transport individual bats.
Ms Castley-Wright said it was better to have a release enclosure to allow hand-raised orphaned bats to have the best chance at survival in the wild.
“There have been over 500 dead (flying foxes) that we haven’t been able to save,” she said.
Any further funds raised by the carers will go towards buying fruit, protein powders and other items needed to help successfully release orphaned flying foxes.
- To help, head to gofund me.com/flying-fox-release-enclosure-fnq
Spectacled Flying Foxes of Far North Queensland are in critical decline. Current predictions have the species extinct in 10 years. They are a keystone species..vital pollinators and seed dispersers of our Rainforest. Without them the Rainforest will collapse. We as rescuers and carers of hundreds of orphaned Flying Foxes each birthing season constantly have the stress of rehabilitating and releasing these orphans each year.
Releasing these orphans (around 9 months old), takes many resources, which we as carers provide out of our own funds.
With substantial habitat loss, we are now at a point where a suitable release facility needs to be built. We have found the perfect piece of land, in the forest, away from people, and powerlines, this property is also home at certain times of the year to a resident roost colony of Spectacled Flying Foxes. One of the dedicated carers owns this land and is willing to have the responsibility of having the release enclosure on her land. We need to build a release enclosure to help us give our hand raised orphans the best chance to be released successfully back into the wild.
Please help us achieve this goal, please help us get the hundreds of orphans we raise and rehabilitate back into the wild successfully. The funds raised will go to purchasing supplies to build the enclosure, to purchase supplies to help purchase fruit, protein powders and other essential items needed to help successfully release our little orphans.
Please help us to help the Spectacled Flying Fox species survive.
Help spread the word!