WIRES Mid North Coast ask the public to look up and save a life

WIRES carer Denise Allison with orphaned bat Bella. Photo: supplied.

 

HOW often have you seen a dead bat (flying-fox) hanging on power lines, or caught in a barbed wire fence or fruit tree netting?

Few people realise that there could be a live baby still with its deceased mother.

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From late September to late February, mother flying foxes carry their newborn pups with them, and if something happens to the mother the little ones face a slow death from starvation and dehydration.

The Mid North Coast Branch of WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) is asking the public to please report flying-foxes in trouble to them as quickly as possible even if the mother bat seems dead.

Power lines are a particular hazard for bats, but quick thinking and reporting to WIRES can often save the pup.

Essential Energy emergency personnel are called in to release the bat from the lines, and surviving pups are then taken into care by trained and appropriately vaccinated (against Lyssavirus etc) WIRES members.

“We don’t really know how the pups survive their mother’s electrocution, but somehow they often do,” said local WIRES Bat Team member Jenny Beatson.

“They can be saved if we are called in early enough to take them into care and hand-raise the pups until they are old enough for rehabilitation and release back to the wild.

“We’re very grateful to the Essential Energy teams, who respond as quickly as possible to release the bat from the lines.”

There are several species of flying-fox in the area, including the threatened Grey-headed flying-fox, and the Mid North Coast Branch of WIRES has a team of dedicated volunteers who are specially trained to care for them.

“The public can really help by calling us in as soon as they spot a bat on power lines or otherwise in trouble,” said Jenny.

“That’s all you need to do, please don’t touch or handle the bat in any way.

“Although very few bats carry Lyssavirus and it can only be contracted through a bite or scratch from an infected animal, it’s a very real risk that can be avoided by not touching the animal, and never try to remove a bat from power lines or you risk electrocution yourself.

“Just call it in and we’ll do the rest.”

Call WIRES on 1300 094 737.

 

By David TUNE

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