Bear Grylls, Bat Killer

By Mitch Gilley, Associate Writer.

In a clip from Man vs Wild (formerly on The Discovery Channel) Bear Grylls used smoke to flush bats from a cave and then struck the fleeing, terrified animals with a makeshift club and stomped on them with what seemed to be glee, jokingly referring to it as “bat tennis.”

Yes, this actually happened, and it is not an isolated incident. Aside from bats, Bear has killed alligators, monitor lizards, capybaras and even boas. None of these animals are killed in anywhere near a humane manner; they are simply beaten to death for the amusement of the viewing public.

This can’t be overstated enough: for those who care about animals, the videos available online showing his frequent atrocities are very, very difficult to watch.  If you seek them out to see for yourself, please be aware of this.

In replying to email complaints about the show, The Discovery Channel defended itself by saying that Bear was imparting valuable survival information and, unbelievably, that it was his Bear’s “style!” Such “stylistic” concerns as applied to people comprises much of the notoriety of serial killers.  As for the conveyance of vital survival tips, opting to beat, kill and eat whatever animals are near is very clearly a rash and inadvisable course of action. Real survival experts – the ones who actually survive in the wilderness rather than preen their sad macho survivalist fantasies on television – say that pretty much everything Bear Grylls does or says to do will get you killed. There is no worthwhile information whatsoever that can only be conveyed by filming oneself killing innocent, healthy animals, and terrorizing and bludgeoning sleeping bats right at their doorstep.

Let us not forget that Bear Grylls was exposed for staying in hotels overnight while filming a show that falsely portrayed him as embattled by harsh wilderness.

Bear Grylls eating the raw meat of a deceased zebra which may have been killed for the program “Man vs Wild.”

Profiting from the utterly pointless killing of these bats – and all animals – is unilaterally unacceptable, and while the show may now be cancelled, Discovery still has the video and others like it up for viewing on their website, meaning that they as well as Bear are still profiting from engineering, perpetrating and showing the deaths of these healthy, innocent animals to audiences worldwide.

Please contact those responsible for fouling our televisions with his presence. Please also feel free to join the Bear Barbaric Bear Grylls Facebook page and SIGN OUR PETITION.

(Please note that we were unable to find an email address for anyone at Discovery, however, you may also leave an opinion here. To contact the Ethics Hotline in the U.S. and Canada, please dial (800) 398-6395.)


Please either fax or mail a letter to John S. Hendricks, Chairman, Discovery Communications, LLC at the following address:

John S. Hendricks, Chairman
One Discovery Place
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 240-662-2000
Fax: 240-662-1868

Dear John S. Hendricks,
There is a truly repellent video hosted on the Discovery Channel’s website compels me to write to you. The offending video is from the defunct show Man vs. Wild and details the efforts of Bear Grylls as he terrorizes, beats to death and devours harmless bats, ostensibly to demonstrate some tribal hunting technique and to impart supposedly “valuable” survival tactics.

Specifically, Mr. Grylls uses smoke and flame to drive the bats from their home and their sleep, strikes them from the air with a homemade bludgeon, stomps on their broken, fragile, defenseless bodies and then devours them alive, all for the benefit of an audience that will never in a million years find themselves forced to rely on what they’ve seen on television to survive in the Chinese wilderness.

That such brutality is so flimsily justified by anthropological and naturalist pretenses is offensive enough, but it cannot possibly overshadow the brutality itself. After hearing the video, it seemed unbelievable – even possibly illegal – that such things could or would be shown, and particularly on a reputable channel as Discovery. If teenagers spent the weekend filming themselves doing the exact same thing, they would of course be arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

It was profoundly disappointing then to see that it was not only aired, but choreographed and filmed at great effort and expense. Worse, it was done solely to entertain and to glorify Mr. Grylls as a strong and courageous survivalist. As this is a fabrication, as it is now common knowledge that many or most of Mr. Grylls’ stunts were staged, as everyone now knows that he was spending his nights in hotel rooms rather than the wilderness he professed to survive in for days on end, not only is all his demagoguery rendered suspect, but it cannot be credibly said that those bats died for educational purposes, nor indeed for any other purpose than the facile excitement of an audience.

Profiting from the brutal and inhumane killing of these animals in pursuit of what is essentially a modern day blood sport is wrong, and we ask that the “bat tennis” video be removed from your website along with all others in which Bear Grylls beats animals to death. As a media operation that purports to be educational, fostering such cruelty and disrespect toward the creatures we share the earth with is unconscionable. What was done to them cannot be undone, but you can from this point on respect their suffering and not peddle it as despicable and retrograde entertainment.

Again, I implore The Discovery Channel to remove all videos of Bear Grylls mutilating, killing and eating innocent animals from your website as well as other websites including YouTube and other video channels.

[Your name]


The Sensless Killing of Queensland’s Bats

By Mitch Gilley, Associate Writer.

You may be aware of the current controversy in Queensland swirling around their local flying fox population. That controversy is two-fold: insiders in the fruit industry are lobbying for legal permission to shoot and kill these endangered animals. In addition, the usual histrionic misinformation about bats being a serious health risk has citizens and Premiere Campbell Newman pushing to pass dangerously permissive legislation that will leave no meaningful safeguards to protect these animals.  In other words, flying foxes, animals who have the intelligence of a dolphin, the dexterity of a primate, and the emotional complexity of a human, will be shot and abused for living in their natural homes (the trees) and for feeding on the fruit grown and sold by its tenders.

Lobbying for the removal of such protections from multiple endangered species is an extreme action, and an extreme action in turn implies that the situation to be remedied is likewise extreme. If this is so, it begs one specific question:


The Australian fruit industry is not new, nor are the flying foxes that grace Queensland. Flying-foxes play a vital role in keeping Australia’s (and hence the world’s) ecosystems in good health. They pollinate flowers and disperse seeds as they forage on the nectar and pollen of eucalypts, melaleucas, banksias and on the fruits of rainforest trees and vines. Flying-foxes are particularly important in ensuring the survival of our threatened rainforests such as the Wet Tropics and Gondwana Rainforests (both listed as World Heritage sites).  They not only enable plants to be prolific in their areas of origin, but to traverse long distances to take root in entirely new territories. From this increased diversity, more robust ecosystems develop with their dependence on any one single thing greatly lessened.

Australia’s grey headed and spectacled flying foxes are already listed as vulnerable species on the endangered species list, yet they are the animals being killed, and for understandably attempting to feed on fruit that they may have pollinated themselves. Whether they are shot by farmers or killed, even perhaps inadvertently in dispersal attempts, is irrelevant.

Of universal concern, however, is the proposed measure which calls for the burning of 700,000 hectares of various types of foliage in order to destroy the bats’ habitat.  This, of course, would affect every single organism that shares that land.  Such broad tampering with the ecosystem could trigger a domino effect that would race straight towards humans, bringing privation to all other life as it went.  There is no reliable way of knowing until it’s too late.

Potential for harm aside, dispersals also nearly always fail.  Flying foxes get as attached as you or I to their homes and are smart enough to retreat a minimal distance from the dispersal operation, and the extra flight time to their feeding grounds is trivial to them.  What’s less trivial is the expense required to undertake and fail in a dispersal attempt.

Then there is the lack of meaningful oversight. The proposal mandates the presence of an “expert,” but neither defines what constitutes an expert nor affords them any authority to intervene should the operation become inhumane. Recent efforts have already proven to be cruel: bats were shot – often merely wounded due to their size and speed – and collected in plastic bags while still alive, left to drown in the blood of their roostmates, buried in the corpses of their kin.  Many babies weren’t shot at all and lay desperately clinging to their dead and dying mothers. These babies may not even be noticed and not even have the mercy of blood loss and resultant unconsciousness as they slowly starve. Still others weren’t noticed at all and merely starved without their mothers to nurse them.

These are not the actions of a people who can legitimately claim to be civilized, most particularly so when much safer and humane alternatives exist, such as exclusionary netting, which is very inexpensive relative to conducting a dispersal operation, as netting is a one-time cost aside from maintenance, while dispersal operations will almost certainly need to be repeated. No, such actions as are now proposed are rooted in anger and greed rather than pragmatism. These are the fruits of lobbyists clamoring on behalf of fruit industry stockholders who are willing to essentially have endangered animals killed as well as perhaps well meaning people who simply vastly overestimate the supposed “health risks” of having bats living nearby.  Austin, TX, for instance, has a massive colony of Mexican free tails living in the city itself, and while they themselves pose no risk to humans, the flying foxes of Queensland have an even lower incidence of isolated cases of disease. Bats themselves will even self-isolate when they become sick to protect their roostmates.

Make no mistake, killing these bats could start a chain reaction that could potentially topple Queensland’s ecosystems, but there is no question that it will definitely cost Queenslanders much of their humanity. With each bat that dies slowly in a plastic bag without understanding what is happening to them, the respect of the global community for Queensland will wane, and very likely their tourism industry with it. It has already been noted there are many in Queensland who are adamantly against any measure taken against these beautiful beings, but they will be tarred by that same dirty brush, however unfairly.

It is time to make your voice heard. Let Premiere Campbell Newman know that the world watches to see whether it can find a way to peacefully and profitably coexist with these inoffensive, innocent animals or whether baser instincts of greed will win out.


A sample letter has been provided below. Please feel free to copy and paste this text into an email and send it to:

Andrew Powell at environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au
Campbell Newman at thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au

Premiere Newman and Andrew Powell,

In regards to the proposed measures concerning the flying foxes with which Queensland is graced, I’m writing this letter to express my extreme displeasure and horror.  Virtually every consequence of said measures has the potential to damage Queensland’s ecosystems and reputation, as the “safeguards” written into the legislation are wholly inadequate to protect the bats, the people of Queensland or the reputation of your province abroad.Dispersal efforts, lethal or otherwise, almost always fail.  In the highly unusual event that a colony is actually moved, dispersals still fail in having a meaningful effect.  These animals have a tremendous flight range and an attachment to the home that is just as deep and profound as your attachment to your own home, and thus they will move just enough to avoid whatever threat is used to disperse them. This minimal shift in proximity is almost never enough to do much other than cause them to fly a few more seconds to the very same grounds they previously frequented.The other effects of a dispersal operation, however, are not so trivial.  Such operations are quite expensive, put people in close quarters with distressed or injured bats who may bite out of desperation, and most of all breed manifold forms of abuse.  Worse, the bats that might most concern humans, the healthy adults, are the ones who will be able to escape harm while defenseless and inoffensive babies and heavily pregnant mothers are helpless to even comply with the wishes of those executing the dispersion. There are already ugly yet reliable stories of abuse coming from Australian caretakers of injured and wounded bats. The proof of such stories is the bats themselves and the documenting of their stories by the selfless rescuers whom represent the best of the people of Queensland.

This is clearly an emotional response from greedy individuals in the fruit industry who are more concerned with profit margins than the equilibrium of the ecosystem of Queensland, the welfare of the utterly innocent flying foxes now so gravely threatened, or even whether this ineffectual plan and the shoddy legislation behind it will even work.  Ironically, too, with flying foxes being such ubiquitous and far-ranging pollinators, the proposed measures and their near-total lack of meaningful oversight may actually damage or destroy the fruit industry’s ability to produce at all.

We implore you to reconsider this course of action.  Neither the fruit industry nor the human population of Queensland are new; were there any severe inability to coexist of the kind that would warrant the extreme action now proposed, it would have unquestionably manifested by now, either in the eradication of the fruit industry or of the bats.  There has been a long coexistence between the two, however, and we urge you to help it continue.  The people of Queensland, and you yourself, are better than this.  Prove it.

Your signature here



Late one evening in March of 2011, we received an email concerning a bat found in an open garage. It was right after a heavy windstorm involving gale force winds that a man discovered the bat among debris blown in to his garage. Using a glove, he was able to get the bat into a glass jar. He then found Bat World online and sent us an email, along with the photo below, asking for our help.

Gimlet in small jar
Gimlet, barely able to fit inside the jar that encased him. Click to enlarge.

We determined the bat was a big free-tail (Nyctinomops macrotis), based on the size of the bat compared to the jar. Most disconcerting, however, was the unnatural position of the frightened bat, indicating he was too large to fit inside the jar. While his rescuer had the best of intentions in helping the bat, it is important to note that a jar is a highly inappropriate container for a bat, even temporarily. Glass allows too much light for the comfort of these animals who prefer dark seclusion, and the slick surface offers nothing for the bat to grip in order to comfortably hang upside-down. Additionally, bats use echolocation to orient themselves to their surroundings and these vocalizations only bounce around inside a jar, which can alarm a bat even further.

We gave the caller instructions on how to move the bat safely from the jar and into a secure box that included a padded floor, places to hang and hide, and a shallow dish of water. A meeting place was decided for the following day in order to transfer “Gimlet” to Bat World Sanctuary. Upon arrival at Bat World, Gimlet was thoroughly examined and although he was thin and dehydrated, he was in fairly good condition.

Big free-tailed bats are only known to colonize a few select places in Texas, so we determined that the extreme high winds we had been experiencing likely blew Gimlet off course. Little is known about his species other than they like to roost within crevices and cracks in high canyon walls. Unfortunately there are no known big free-tail bat roosts in north-central Texas (where Bat World is located) so we could not release him right away.

In July of 2013, with the help of a bat biologist and friend, Gimlet was finally reunited with his kind in Big Bend National Park in south Texas, where these bats thrive. He was released at nightfall and joined other big free-tailed bats already out foraging in the protected park.

His favorite food in captivity was giant meal worms, as evidenced in the video below. We were both honored and happy to care for Gimlet until he could once again return his rightful place in the wild, soaring high above the canyons with his kind.



August 2009 – July 4, 2013

It has been said that bats are the realization of the Fairy of the Wood, keeper of the caves, custodians to the secrets of the night. And so it was on a hot August night in 2009, like a heavenly angel descending through the darkened sky, came Ethereal. One of the rarest bats in the entire world, a completely white (albino) micro bat, seen approximately once every 7-10 years by those involved in the world of bats.

Ethereal was found seeking refuge at Bat World’s wild sanctuary, scampering and slipping as she tried to make her way across a beam. She was very thin, under-nourished and in poor condition. She was quickly recovered from the beam and brought into the hospital at Bat World. She was only a juvenile, petite and gentle; not yet full grown, but her sweet personality was already distinctive.

Albino bats are easy prey for predatory birds and other nocturnal creatures. Because there was an owl perched near the wild sanctuary, Ethereal was an effortless target. We decided to take her into protective care so she could live her life without fear of predators.

Ethereal, poking her head out of a bat hut looking for a meal worm treat (which she always received).

Albinos are often not as long lived as other mammals as they can be predisposed to health problems. Ethereal passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly on July 4th, 2013 from pneumonia, likely brought on by albinism immunodeficiency as her condition did not respond to treatment. She passed away not quite reaching 4 years of age.

Goodbye precious Ethereal, our sweet little Fairy of the Wood. There will never be another soul like yours, and you will be forever missed.

Bats in the Pantry Recipes


A New Bat World Sanctuary

We are finally finished with the construction of our new facility in nearby Cool. Texas! We’ve worked hard for this but it could not have been possible without our generous and loyal supporters. Every time we’ve needed you, you’ve always stepped up, and we can’t possibly thank you enough.

Click the photo to view a PDF file of the construction containing before, during and after photos.

Our new address is:
Bat World Sanctuary
299 High Point Rd
Weatherford, TX, 76088

Bat World is the only accredited sanctuary for bats on earth and we are a safe haven for orphaned, abused and wounded bats to heal, but our struggle continues. We raised 40% of the needed funds needed to build our new sanctuary, and we borrowed the remaining amount. And although we are now deeply in debt because of this loan, we saved dozens of lives in the process – priceless lives that we may have been otherwise forced to turn away due to lack of space.

Now that we have accomplished this monumental goal of building a new facility, we desperately need to continue the forward motion we have attained of accepting all bats at risk by becoming debt free and thereby financially secure. This will literally mean the difference between whether or not we can remain the beacon of hope for bats who are still waiting to be rescued. Please help us make that difference and click here to donate now.



Dear Bat World Sanctuary Supporters,
As you know, Bat World is a sanctuary, a safe-haven for displaced and abused bats. Bats who arrive at Bat World are restored to good health and released back to the wild, and when this is not possible they are allowed to live the remainder of their lives in with us, in peace and harmony in a simulated, natural environment. We have provided permanent sanctuary to non-releasable bats for over 20 years now, and sadly, we have reached near maximum capacity.

Major Luther Lollar, building one of over 200 bat houses that he made during his 20 years of volunteering for Bat World Sanctuary.

The time is upon us to raise the funds to build a new facility. Bat World’s efforts in limiting the stream of bats from entering the corrupt pet trade continues, by taking in female fruit bats to limit breeding stock. With zoo closures across the country, there are many more bats in need of placement. Additionally, bats retired from research need help to recover from the pain and suffering they were forced to endure.

My beloved father, Major Luther Lollar, succumbed to Parkinson’s on November 16th, 2012. His $100,000 legacy to me, the total of his net worth, I have signed over to Bat World Sanctuary. I share this personal information with you because I see that good people everywhere are uniting to help bats, and I want to do everything I possibly can, with everything that I have, to make a difference for the bats we all love so much.

Amanda Lollar with her father, Luther S. Lollar, in 2003

We have until January 10th, 2013, to elicit the funds needed to win the Mozilla Firefox Challenge. $50,000 will go to the organization that secures the highest amount of donations, with $30,000 and $20,000 going to the respective 2nd and 3rd place winners.

If we can win the first place prize of $50,000 and raise an additional $100,000, together with the additional $100,00 from the sale of my father’s property, that will give us $250,000—enough for a new facility. The planned new facility will be built on Bat World’s property, land that was purchased early this year with donations that many of you sent last year to help support Lil Drac and his kind.

Can we do this?? ABSOLUTELY!

Just think about it for a moment—we have 34,000 Facebook followers… if only ¼ of us -or 8,500 people- each donated $12.00, we would have the funds to build a new Bat World facility.

Beene’, a pallid bat rescued from cruel research at Texas A&M University.

I have dedicated my life to these magnificent, charming ‘fairies of the woods’, and so many of you have come to embrace them as well. I think Bat Peeps are one of the strongest “species sponsors” in the world. There has never been a group so compelled  to represent the most misunderstood animal on the planet, and you not only do it with your words, you have done it with your hearts.  Please, please, please help us make this happen for the bats.

Any amount you can send, no matter how large or how small, will be of monumental value to us and the bats we all love so dearly.

Please click here to donate.

Amanda Lollar
Founder & President
Bat World Sanctuary

Luther Lollar

Major Luther S. Lollar

It is with great sadness that we bring you the news of the passing of Major Luther S. Lollar, Bat World Sanctuary’s very first volunteer and the father of our Founder and President, Amanda Lollar.

Major Lollar was an avid financial supporter of Bat World and was instrumental in getting Bat World off of the ground almost 20 years ago. He generously built all of the original flight caging and rehabilitation caging for Bat World.  He constructed the educational displays for the picture windows, built over 200 bat houses which were sold across the US, with 20 being mounted in the downtown area of Mineral Wells, Texas, home of Bat World Sanctuary. He loved farming and gardening, and devoted several acres of his land to planting melons and other fruits, which he harvested and cut into bite-sized pieces for the bats. The fruit was then bagged and frozen so the bats would have fresh fruit all winter long without any burdensome food bills for out-of-season fruit. He was an extraordinarily kind man who loved all kinds of animals, and would drive to the market to collect and then deliver the 80 pounds of bananas needed each week for the fruit bats.

Luther Lollar, building one of over 200 bat houses that he made over the years.

Major Lollar was a highly decorated soldier; serving in WWII and twice in Vietnam, both in the Marines and the Army. He was one of the first soldiers to serve on the front lines in Vietnam. Among his many medals he was honored with the distinguished Flying Cross for manning an unarmed helicopter and chasing away Vietcong who outnumbered and were advancing on trapped U.S. troops. Three unarmed helicopters were dispatched to pick up troops. Heavy fire drove two of the helicopters to retreat. Alone, Major Lollar aggressively flew in, and using his helicopter blades as a weapon, kept the Vietcong at bay to allow the other two helicopters to land and retrieve our troops. Major Lollar designed the artillery on the outside of helicopters and tested it, which was the basis for all future helicopter weaponry. In the final battle scene of the movie, “We Were Soldiers”, both the maneuvers and the equipment were representative of  Major Lollar’s work.

On his last trip to the hospital, upon waking, the first thing he asked Amanda was, “How are the bats?” You will be sorely missed by all, Major. We owe you a debt of gratitude for the life we all enjoy.

Major Lollar passed away Friday, November 16, 2012 and was buried on Tuesday, November 20 with full military honors. He was preceded in death by wife Gladys Lollar, who passed away December 18, 1993.


A USDA FOIA request of Lisa’s Creatures shows inadequate veterinary care, housing, excess handling resulting in the death and numerous other citations/violations. Click here for the full report

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.

Echo was purchased as a baby by Lisa’s Creatures, an backyard exotic animal collector who is also with East Valley Wildlife. Echo was forcefully 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.

Echo the baby fruit bat appearing confused and frightened in the dog crate in which she is confined. Photo Source: facebook.com/lisascreatures. Click to enlarge.

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.


Please also send a hard copy a letter to:

2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117

Arizona Department of Health Services
150 North 18th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Fax: (602) 542-0883

Maricopa County Public Health
4041 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85012


If you prefer to send your own email, please address your email to:
USDA, APHIS: ace@aphis.usda.gov
USDA, Western Region: acwest@aphis.usda.gov
City of Chandler: ariane.francis@chandleraz.gov
Town of Gilbert: parks@gilbertaz.gov
AZ Dept of Fish and Game: Tyler Vanvleet: tvanvleet@azgfd.gov


Van Gogh

In the year 2000, Van Gogh, a Mexican free-tail bat, was experiencing independence in his first summer of life. From what we can deduce, he became caught in a pre-dawn thunderstorm while out foraging for insects and was unable to make it back to his roost. Instead, he had apparently taken refuge under the edge of a sign attached to the side of a convenience store. Both the hard rain and the rising sun made it impossible for Van Gogh to safely fly back to his home roost.

Sometime during the mid-morning hours, three teenage boys noticed the little bat clinging to the brick wall and crouched tightly against the sign. Fear kept Van Gogh in place, making him an easy target for their heinous crime. Without forethought or concern for this delicate, little creature that had spent all night eating insects that destroy crops and carry deadly disease, they took a lighter from their pocket and reached as high as they could to come into contact with Van Gogh. They held the flame close enough to burn his fur and sear his ear and neck. Luckily, the shopkeeper saw them from the corner of his eye. Not immediately knowing what the boys were doing, only that they were doing something to the store sign, he rushed outside to confront them. Upon seeing the shopkeeper the boys fled, dropping the lighter in the process.  As the shopkeeper approached the sign he heard small painful cries coming  from  Van Gogh,  who  was still weakly clinging  to  the bricks. The shopkeeper’s child had participated in a field trip to Bat World last year, so he was aware of our existence and immediately phoned us.

Thankfully, Van Gogh’s injuries weren’t life threatening. However, the fur on his head and neck was singed and the skin was badly burned. The membrane on one wing had blistered and one of his fragile ears had disintegrated under the flame.  Hence, he was affectionately given the name of Van Gogh.

We admit several burn cases annually; some from power lines, some from chimneys and some from acts of cruelty, such as Van Gogh’s. Sadly, most of these bats are injured beyond repair and must be humanely euthanized.  Van Gogh was very lucky. His desire to stay alive, his sweet disposition and the fact that he was only a few weeks old helped him adjust and heal quickly. However, his missing ear prevents him from echolocating properly and foraging for insects in the wild, so he is not releasable. Van Gogh appears extremely happy in captivity. He has grown a bit old and crotchety over the years, but is still lives a pampered life in protective surroundings, with a non-releasable captive colony of his own kind. He was retired from the Adopt-a-bat program in 2012.


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