It is extremely unfortunate that fruit bats occasionally enter the exotic pet trade through zoo closures and unscrupulous animal dealers. Some of these dealers operate under the guise of “conservation”. While some buyers have the bat’s best interest in mind, most do not understand the consequences. Exotic pet owners are often “blinded by misguided love” and sometimes don’t realize the dangers of keeping a bat, tiger or an adult chimpanzee in their home. Others are in it simply for the notoriety and/or the money made from buying and selling these animals. Many enjoy showing off in photos or videos with their exotic baby victim in tow, sometimes done under the premise of “education”. Newborn wild animals are pulled from their mothers so they can pose with the public in photo opportunities. Once grown, they often end up in substandard roadside zoos and private menageries. Most accredited zoos long ago stopped the unhealthy practice of pulling newborn animals from their mothers because they realize that it deprives infants of proper nutrition and causes behavioral problems.
This is the story of Echo, who was recently purchased as a youngster by Lisa’s Creatures, who is with East Valley Wildlife. She was removed from her mother and sold by Scott Heindrick, who runs an operation called the Flying Fox Conservation Fund. Click to view Lisa Limbert’s facebook and Twitter posts.
After the bat arrived to Lisa’s Creatures, owner Lisa Limbert posted photos of the frightened baby on her facebook page, and admitted she was not familiar with the complicated care required for this species, stating “Well Pamela, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I’m not actually sure how big Echo will get…. This is new for me, so we will all be learning together.”
Additionally, Limbert is housing the baby in a small wire cage intended as a permanent home, and allegedly attempted to feed the young fruit bat yogurt and fruit flavored tums, items which could have caused the death of Echo had they been consumed. Fortunately we were able to supply a proper diet through other bat groups who have also been communicating with Ms. Limbert about the cruel confinement, potential health hazards, and additional liabilities associated in housing a flighted bat inside her home.
Lisa’s Creatures facebook page states: “Lisa’s Creatures works exclusively through the parks and rec system for the cities of Chandler and Gilbert Arizona. Lisa’s Creatures” is a privately held collection of ambassador animals. Lisa is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by Arizona Game and Fish. Her animals are held under state and federal permits. “Lisa’s Creatures” is the educational program for East Valley Wildlife and is accessible through the parks and rec department of Chandler and Gilbert Arizona.” Click here to see a list of Lisa’s Creatures animals and USDA inspection reports.
Inside the Exotic Pet Trade
According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, second only to drugs and weapons on the black market. It’s a $15 billion dollar business in the United States alone, with breeders and dealers selling animals over the Internet or in trade magazines. Millions of animals are forced into the exotic pet trade every year for the purpose of becoming someone’s pet or entertaining the masses in a circus or roadside zoo. Sadly, Ms. Limbert has stated that, rather than give Echo to a qualified sanctuary, she will send Echo to “one of her ZAA buddies” which possibly is an even worse fate than keeping the bat confined to cage the size of a dog crate.
USDA regulations: Subpart F species that fly (i.e., bats) must be provided with sufficient unobstructed enclosure volume to enable movement by flying and sufficient roosting space to allow all individuals to rest simultaneously.
R12-4-402. Live Wildlife: Unlawful Acts B. If an individual lawfully possesses wildlife, but holds it in a manner that poses an actual or potential threat to other wildlife, or the safety, health, or welfare of the public, the Department shall seize, quarantine, or hold the wildlife.
R12-4-417. Wildlife Holding License: A. It is necessary for an individual to give humane treatment to restricted live wildlife that has been abandoned or permanently disabled, and is therefore unable to meet its own needs in the wild.
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