More than 1000 flying foxes are killed or injured each year in Sydney, many on power lines or caught in garden netting. Tiny babies, still clinging to their mum, may survive even if she doesn't. Sadly, older pups, who are too big to carry, usually die of starvation if their mum is killed. This project will help build a cage for orphan baby bats to learn to fly, and the social skills they need to survive in the wild.
Grey-headed flying foxes are a threatened species, under increasing pressure from climate change and urbanisation. The WWF estimates that in the last 15 years, 50,000 flying foxes have died in heat stress events- more than 10 % of the population. And it's not just flying foxes that are at risk- they are the main pollinators of the eucalyptus forests along Australia's east coast, trees which support iconic wildlife such as koalas.
Along with the new cage, the project will help feed the increasing number of flying foxes that come into care each year. While in care we feed them several tonnes of fruit a year, and at $10/day/per animal, it all adds up. The project will also fund some much needed work around the cages such as: construction of a pathway from the fruit cutting room to the cages, allowing the use of a trolley to move fruit up to the cage door; drainage work around the cage increasing the safety for volunteers.
Studies have shown that rehabilitated flying foxes have excellent survival rates when they are released. They are highly intelligent and social, and when exposed to other bats, quickly learn the skills they need to survive. As the threats against them increase, we must maintain facilities to protect this threatened keystone species. The work we do in rescuing pups plays a hugely significant role in educating the public about their local wildlife, and the importance of preserving the environment.