It's been a record-breaking season.
Long-term weather records for heat, drought and rainfall in our tropical far north region of Queensland were all broken in late November 2018 and into early 2019.  Read on to understand how this affected the Spectacled flying foxes and the work of the Bat Hospital. 
The Challenge
How best to care for an extra 500 Spectacled orphans from an unprecedented heat stress event, when you already have 250 in care from tick paralysis? Luckily we had a lot of volunteers booked in for this orphan season, many of them experienced repeat volunteers staying 2-3 months. We accelerated our usual bulk buying of bat food, called in local volunteers more frequently and became more present than usual on social media to attract donations. We also started planning to expand our release facilities out at Tolga Scrub.
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Heat Stress Events

Flying foxes do not cope with temperatures over 42 degrees. An estimated 23,000 SFFs died in this first ever flying fox heat stress event for the region, about 30% of their population.  To learn more about heat stress in flying foxes.  

Critically Endangered?

CSIRO population counts of Spectacled flying foxes from 2004 to 2017 showed about a 75% decline, from 250,000 to 75,000. The most recent losses (see above) compounded this massive decline. The species was finally listed federally as endangered in February 2019 based on 2017 data, but since the heat event now deserves critically endangered status. Learn more about this research.

Tube-nosed fruit bats 

While soft-releasing the Spectacled orphans, the unusually long wet season led to a record number of tube-nose bats (and other bats) coming into care for that time of year. Here are 4 of the 10 that came in, all off barbed wire fences except one from a cat attack. 
Learn more about Tube-nosed bats


Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Geneva from USA, who had a 4 week stay during release season 2019. Here she is at the release cage. We don't usually take volunteers under 20 years of age, but both Geneva and another young volunteer earlier in the season Tamara proved that Gen-Z can be exceptional (in a good way!). Both of them came from USA through a volunteering agency Animals Experience International. About 20% of our volunteers come through agencies or veterinary schools, the rest find us directly online. 

Did You Know?
Bat rescue facilitates research. This year we are contributing about 900 wing punches for a population genetics study of Spectacled flying foxes. This will give a more accurate idea of the health of the population than ground counts of just numbers. Each of our released orphans, and others that have come into care have had a small 3mm punch taken from their wing membrane. Learn more about our contributions to research.
We have never been very good at asking for money, but have been lucky to have a lot of generous people give without our asking. After this record season though we need to recover some costs to do major maintenance to the floors in our
large flight cage

Please use the Paypal Giving Fund or direct bank deposit. If you choose bank deposit please email us your details. 
Copyright © 2019 Tolga Bat Rescue and Research, All rights reserved.

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