Go­ing in to bat for ‘res­cue sea­son’

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - JOSEPHINE LIM

AN­I­MAL res­cue groups are ex­pect­ing a busy spring after an in­flux of hun­gry fly­ing foxes into Ade­laide from drought-stricken NSW and Queens­land.

Bat Res­cue SA has made a fund­ing plea on GoFundMe, ex­pect­ing a “mas­sive res­cue sea­son”, and cit­ing a more than dou­bling of the Botanic Park colony from 10,000 bats to 22,000.

“They come from in­ter­state be­cause of the lack of food from the drought,” co-or­di­na­tor Sue Westover said

She said vol­un­teers had res­cued about half-a-dozen bats caught in barbed wire in re­cent months and ex­pected more call-outs this sum­mer.

Ms Westover is hop­ing to raise $5000 to buy a new aviary and equip­ment to cool the heat­stressed bats down and re­ha­bil­i­tate them.

Vol­un­teers also need the funds to trans­port and re­lease the bats in­ter­state – a costly $1500 trip.

“Hand-reared ba­bies and heat-stressed bats have to be with adult males when we take them over in what we call a soft re­lease, where they learn to fly in a larger aviary,” Ms Westover said.

There have been sight­ings of fly­ing foxes in An­gle Vale, Athel­stone, Croy­don Park and in­ner south­ern sub­urbs in­clud­ing Black For­est, Mitchell Park and Millswood.

Ear­lier this year, SA Health warned the pub­lic not to touch any po­ten­tially-dis­eased bats that fell dead from trees as tem­per­a­tures soared above 40C.

Ms Westover said not all bats car­ried the po­ten­tial­ly­deadly lyssavirus but urged the pub­lic to ring the bat hot­line 0475 132 093 if a dis­tressed bat was found.

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