This is Pebbles, saved but not out of danger
YOU see them by the hundreds, thousands even – the bats crowding the early evening sky over Port Douglas.
The flyout goes on and on and it seems their numbers are infinite.
Yet the experts say it isn’t so. Some bat species are declining at a catastrophic rate, such as the 10 per cent a year decline in the population of Spectacled Flying Foxes like little Pebbles (pictured).
When the transitory Little Red Flying Foxes come to town, bat numbers swell for the few weeks they are here, which accounts for homegrown theories that bat populations are raging out of control.
After gorging on seasonal flowering blossom they’ll move on to somewhere else.
The Spectacled Flying Foxes stay.
Scientists aren’t sure why bat numbers are falling to the point where they may soon be on the endangered species list. Encounters with barbed wire fences, loss of habitat, various type of human interaction, in fact, may all contribute to this.
The species is vulnerable because the females don’t reproduce until the age of three, and when they do, they have only one offspring per year. Building numbers can be very slow.
That’s why Connie Kerr, a confessed bat nut and one of the main figures behind the new Nightwings Rainforest Centre being built adjacent to the highway a bit north of Wonga Beach, is so protective of little ones like Pebbles, who’s just three weeks old and was brought to her for care after being found at Pebbly Beach.
Ms Kerr has a message to get out there – if you find a bat that needs help, do not touch or handle it yourself.
Call qualified carers for help, such as Nightwings.
The carers are trained, and also vaccinated, to safely handle these animals.
For help, call 4099 3390.
Pebbles, the Spectacled Flying Fox