A typical day at the Australian Bat Clinic and Wildlife Trauma Center includes feeding, health checks, laundry, rescue expeditions and getting the baby bats ready to be released back to the wild.
Climate change is hitting hard in Australia, with record heat this summer, along with extremes of drought and flood. So the clinic is filled to capacity with orphan baby bats.
In the summer floods two years ago, hundreds of baby bats were brought in. And this year is bringing more trouble to the bats, and more bats to the clinic.
Director Trish Wemberley says her staff and volunteers visit bat roosts and pick up babies they find lying on the ground sick and in distress.
“They’re coming down to feed on the ground,” Wemberley explained. “That makes them vulnerable. It’s not a natural occurrence and shows there is trouble in the environment. Bats are a barometer to what is going on in the environment.
They’re our canaries down the coal mine.”
As in this country, entire species of bats are going extinct, which is not just a disaster for them, but also for the entire ecosystem, destroying the balance between plants and insects.
The youngsters who are brought in are swaddled in clean dust cloths and are bottle fed and then kept either hanging on clothes lines or in special intensive care units until they are ready to fly again in about four weeks.
You can donate to the clinic here.