18 Jun FLYING FOX HEAT STRESS EVENTS
November 2019 commenced with our first orphan being rescued after being found crying, alone on a powerline.
As the weeks went by, we were receiving more and more calls for “abandoned” babies. Due to the drought, starving Grey-headed flying foxes, including pregnant females were making their way south much faster than normal being pushed by the fires which started in southern Queensland. By the end of November, we had attended to over 600 Grey-headed flying-foxes with just over 500 of them either being DOA, dying shortly after arriving in to care or having to be euthanised.
December didn’t fare any better, in actual fact 1845 flying-foxes were attended to, however, 86% of these little ones also didn’t make it.
Despite the numbers of flying-foxes requiring rescue and care, our amazing team of selfless rescuers/carers gave up their time, and basically put their personal lives on hold so that we could work together to save as many flying-foxes as possible. There were many days where members had little to no sleep as we raced around the clock to feed the many mouths that required our attention. Just prior to Christmas we had approx. 400 little mouths to feed for several days until we could find carers to take them in. This was a daunting task that our members just rallied together to tackle. We also had so many unvaccinated volunteers, WRSC members and members of the public raise their hand to help. With so many little ones, we were going through so many bat wraps that required washing and with up to 5 feeds per day being necessary, our helpers were manning the kitchen making up milk and having it ready for those vaccinated people who were feeding. Earlier in the season I had put out a call to the Animal Rescue Craft Guild requesting a few bat wraps, the response was overwhelming, and I have to admit that when we started receiving them I was quite worried about the vast number. Believe it or not, if we had not had all these amazing wraps that had been made with so much love and care, we would have been in a lot of trouble!
As January approached, with the fires taking control of the south of the state, more and more little ones were coming into and being rescued, with so many not being able to be saved. To make matters worse, in early February, we had a major heat stress event which resulted in many, many thousands of deaths.
This past season has been traumatic on so many levels, but everyone involved has helped approximately 500 little ones be raised and given a chance to go back into the wild to do what they are needed to do. That is to be our Night-time pollinators of a vast array of eucalypts and the seed dispersers of our native fruit trees.
We must now try and educate the public on the vital importance of this Keystone species, without whom our future generations will lose so much!
I am so proud of all our amazing members, including a vast range of new people who have joined in to help, without whom a lot of us would not have had the strength to continue. They say that it takes times like this to show people’s true colours, and that it has.
We have also been so lucky to have received so many donations and support, I am not going to name people here in fear of leaving someone out, but you all know who you are and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.