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Award for Sanctuary Excellence

From the GFAS website:
Amanda Lollar of GFAS-accredited Bat World Sanctuary is the eighth recipient of the Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence given annually by Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.

Photo A.Lollar-7-27-16 (1)Washington DC – The 2016 Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence recipient was announced by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). This year Amanda Lollar of GFAS-accredited Bat World Sanctuary was singled out for her leadership in supporting the welfare of bats as a caregiver, educator and advocate.

The Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence is given annually to a sanctuary or individual who embodies and puts into practice the GFAS philosophy of vision, dedication and excellence in animal care. It memorializes Carole Noon, founder of Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Florida, the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary.

“For decades, Amanda has been a tireless champion for this often misunderstood, maligned and underserved group of animals,” says Kellie Heckman, GFAS executive director. “She is the expert in captive bat care and management and an inspiration to all for her passion and dedication. We are excited and honored to provide her with the recognition she deserves.”

Amanda Lollar founded Bat World Sanctuary in Weatherford, TX in 1994, after rehabilitating her first injured bat in 1988. Amanda has since volunteered her time seven days a week, 365 days per year, 12 to 16 hours per day. The Sanctuary currently cares for over 200 permanent residents. Over the past two decades, Amanda has personally saved the lives of thousands of bats, including over 2,000 starving and injured orphaned bats which were hand-raised and released back to the wild.

Lollar shared her thoughts about the achievement, saying, “Bats are miraculous creatures that deserve our protection. They are highly intelligent, have remarkable language skills, and form deep social connections. It has been my life’s work and my greatest joy to defend and support the species. I thank GFAS for this monumental recognition and for all they do to protect the animals of the world by making certain Dr. Noon’s passion and compassion lives on.”

“Amanda has trained over 400 zoologists, veterinarians, and other animal care professionals from every bat-inhabited continent in the world. It is not an exaggeration to say that Amanda has saved hundreds of thousands of bats across the globe due to her hands-on ability and her willingness to share her knowledge. We are so very grateful to GFAS for bestowing this much-deserved award upon Amanda, who makes us proud each and every day,” elaborates Dottie Hyatt, Vice President of Bat World Sanctuary.

An award will be presented to Ms. Lollar in person at a ceremony in the fall at Bat World Sanctuary.

About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries:

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries/rescues worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting sanctuaries/rescues is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization’s work in a collaborative manner. They represent top leadership from Born Free USA, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and American Anti-Vivisection Society. For more information, visit: www.sanctuaryfederation.org.

Summer Rescue Videos

We’ve been very busy rescuing orphaned and injured bats this summer. Included below are videos of Ernie, a young free-tailed bat rescued after being trapped inside a vacant building for at least two days; Mama Bear,, who suffered blunt force trauma; Munchkinface, who suffered a “lucky” fall; Gigi, a beautiful Seminole bat; and a free-tailed juvie who likely walked a mile on hot pavement before being rescued.

Bat Tattoo Contest & Fundraiser!

This contest was created to help us raise funds to care for orphaned and injured bats.

Each tattoo (see below) has been assigned a number which donors will use when casting their votes. The tattoo receiving the most votes wins an autographed, matted print of Peekaboo as shown below. The winner will also receive a plush bat of their choice. Limit one tattoo per person. Deadline for submission is June 30th, midnight CST.

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Click to view tattoos


THE TATTOS

Click the image to be taken to a page to view the 50+ tattoos. Each tattoo is assigned a number. Once you pick your favorite, return here to donate/vote. When voting please be sure to list the number of the tattoo you are voting on in the notes section. Each dollar donated counts as one vote. Voting will take place from July 1st through July 10th. Winner will be notified on or by July 12th.
 
 
WINNER: Congrats to bat tat owner #54! Here is the final count:

#54 – 176 votes
#01 – 120 votes
#25 – 83 votes
#12 – 75 votes
#13 – 65 votes
#06 – 55 votes
#43 – 35 votes
#34 – 30 votes
#40 – 30 votes
#30 – 11 votes
#20 – 11 votes
#41 – 10 votes
#50 – 10 votes
#11 – 10 votes
#34 – 8 votes
#33 – 5 votes
#48 – 5 votes
#04 – 4 votes
#07 – 3 votes
#18 – 1 vote
#02 – 1 vote
#24 – 1vote
#15 – 1 vote
#27 – 1 vote
#30 – 1 vote
#36 – 1 vote

Saving the Palestine Bats

The city of Palestine, Texas loves their bats.

They have had thousands of bats roosting in their downtown buildings for several years. And even though they sometimes create an odor, the city wants the bats to stay in the area because of the tremendous amount of insect control these bats provide.

Kate Rugroroden, Bat World's Director of Special Projects, meets with Palestine city officials
Kate Rugroroden, Bat World’s Director of Special Projects, meets with Palestine city officials

On May 21, 2016, Bat World’s Director of Special Projects, Kate Rugroden, met with approximately 15 residents and local officials from the City of Palestine and members of the East Texas Chapter of Master Naturalists, to discuss how best to handle the humane removal and ultimate preservation of several colonies of bats from historic buildings in the downtown Palestine area.

Several ideas were discussed, including installing bat houses on the affected buildings and installing ‘rocket’ style bat towers throughout the city. We also covered ways to engage the community, such as a bat fair, bat house building events, educational programs, and news articles/press releases.

One promising idivanhoe2ea being considered is creating a sanctuary that has sufficient space around it for a decent perimeter as well as places to build patios for viewing. One building (built in 1913) suffered a catastrophic structural failure some years ago. Originally a 4-story structure, the 3rd and 4th floors collapsed and the roof fell in. One suggestion, which seems to have a lot of traction, is to have that building fitted out as a bat sanctuary. There are open areas on three sides of the building which would establish a safe perimeter and allow businesses to set up viewing areas, where visitors could watch the nightly emergence. The fourth side of the building contains large picture windows. The local middle and high school students could be given the opportunity to design educational window displays, paint murals, etc. City staff would be responsible for checking the building periodically, removing excess guano and ensuring the building is secure.

The project is expected to take several years to complete, given the number of buildings involved. The East Texas Master Naturalists will be active participants, assisting with outreach, public education, and building bat houses. Bat World Sanctuary’s involvement will include consulting on design and placement of bat houses, educational programs and materials, and providing contact information for additional resources.

We are extremely pleased to be part of this wonderful initiative, and the enthusiasm demonstrated by the people of Palestine for protecting the bats is encouraging beyond measure.

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Daffodil

March 2006 – April 11, 2016

Daffodil, a street rescue that came to us in 2006 with an embedded collar, passed away on April 11th, 2016 from a tumor that was diagnosed too late to successfully treat. Daffy loved to interact with volunteers and waited in line for sweet potato pieces (the ends that were cut off the potatoes served to the fruit bats on kabobs). She also loved to play “crevice-dwelling bat” in her bed. Her position at Bat World Sanctuary included volunteer greeter and “UPS alerter”. Daffy, along with Kizmet, are buried on Bat World’s land in a beautiful spot under a big oak tree. Daffodil bulbs were planted over Daffy’s grave in her Honor.  Good bye, sweet Daffodil, we will always love you. ♥

Daffy-crevice bat

Happy Bat Appreciation Day!

Thank you, wonderful bat people, for supporting our rescue efforts for the most underappreciated mammal on earth! Please enjoy a few of  our most recent videos 🙂

Fruit Bats play with New Toys:

Rescuing Veri:

Happy Birthday, Andy!

Nosey Flies Free:

Thank you for your continued support of Bat World Sanctuary. If you would like to donate to help more bats like Veri, Andy and Nosey, please click here.

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The Houston Four

On February 3rd, 2016, a plea for help on our Facebook page about an issue in Houston, Texas that involved an elderly woman beating free-tailed bats with her cane. The news video that was included made it appear as though the woman was helpless and the bats were invading her home. However, free-tailed bats are shy and secretive. They hide in cracks and crevices as well as attics and caves. They do not hang out in the open. These bats would have to be pulled out of their roost in order to be beaten. Free-tailed bats have an intelligence level equivalent to that of dolphins. They have a complicated social structure that includes over 25 different vocalizations that make up their language. Mother free-tails only have one young per year and if anything happens to her pup, a mother will openly grieve for days with her mournful cries. Free-tailed bats are capable of eating up to 5,000 harmful flying insects nightly and they have a lifespan of over 15 years. Each bat that this woman killed had the potential of eating 27,375,000 harmful insects in its lifetime.

Because Houston is 300 miles from Bat World Sanctuary, we immediately alerted rescuers in the area well as Marcelino Benito, the reporter at KHOU 11 news who covered the story and asked to be contacted if anyone could help. We left messages with Mr. Benito through email and his Facebook page that night as well as the following morning. We also put in calls first thing the following morning to our local game warden, KHOU 11 news, and our good friends at 911Wildlife, a 911Wildlife Logohumane exclusion company who works on behalf of wildlife as well as people. 911Wildlife was founded by Bonnie Bradshaw, a fellow wildlife rehabilitator. With offices throughout Texas, including Houston, they were able to immediately respond to this tragedy. 911Wildlife arrived at the woman’s house early that same morning and donated their time and equipment to humanely exclude the bats so no more would be needlessly killed. They also did a thorough search for survivors. Sadly, only five bats out of potentially hundreds survived her beatings. The 911Wildife crew transferred these tiny, broken souls to a local rescuer we had on standby, and the Houston Five are now with Bat World Sanctuary.

Later, we sent an email to Mr. Benito asking why he didn’t actually seek help for this woman. Having access to the internet granted him a wealth of information he could have easily used to help her. Instead, he chose to demonize bats in his report while filming her sickening brutality -which had apparently been going on for years. Mr. Benito never responded to any of my emails or Facebook messages, nor the messages of dozens of other conservation-minded supporters. Many people wrote to express their extreme disappointment at the lack of any helpful information that KHOU 11 news provided for this woman or the bats. Instead, they chose to sensationalize bats and deepen the fears of people who don’t know better.

The five bats were transferred to a rescuer we had on standby, and the following evening they arrived at our rescue center Bat World MidCities where Kate Rugroden, our Director of Special Projects stayed up most of the night treating and stabilizing their injuries. Sadly, one of the five survivors, Ella, died the following morning.

If there is a brighter note to this story it is that dozens of people came together in a show of concern for these bats and the elderly woman as well. And best of all, this colony of bats will no longer be in harms way since they have been humanely excluded. A very special thank you to Bonnie and her crew at 911Wildlife – the bats would not have had a chance without your intervention. Thank you, Marsha P., who remained on standby to receive the bats and thank you, Marzi P., who made an 11-hour trip in one day to transport the bats back to our Mid-Cities rescue center.

The remaining survivors, Timmy, Dash,  Jane Ann, and Bee have fully recovered and will live their lives at our Bat World MidCities rescue center. Going forward, the Houston Four will always know the peace, comfort and respect they so deserve.

The Houston Four, fully recovered.
The Houston Four, fully recovered.

 

Bat World Sanctuary earns GFAS Accreditation

It is heartwarming to see animals that are so often misunderstood and mistreated receiving the high quality, life-long care and respect they deserve at Bat World Sanctuary. Bat World Sanctuary truly maintains the welfare of the bats as their highest priority as demonstrated by their individualized intensive care of non-releasable bats and the extremely high survival rates of the bats they rescue, rehabilitate and release back into the wild”, says, Kellie Heckman, Executive Director of GFAS

Achieving GFAS Accreditation means Bat World Sanctuary meets the comprehensive and rigorous definition of an exceptional sanctuary and as such provides humane and responsible care for bats and meets the rigorous standards for operations, administration, and veterinary care established by GFAS. The accreditation status provides a clear and trusted means for public, donors, and government agencies to recognize and trust Bat World Sanctuary as an true sanctuary.

GFAS-BWS-Certficate-web

Read the full Press Release here.

The Houston Five

By Amanda Lollar, Founder & President

On February 3rd, 2016, around 10pm, I was just wrapping up the day when I saw a plea for help on our Facebook page from Lisa G, about an issue in Houston Texas that involved an elderly woman beating helpless free-tailed bats to death with her cane. (Caution, disturbing video on this link.)

dead bats on porchThe video sickened me to the core, and I was further frustrated by the fact that Houston is over 300 miles away from Bat World Sanctuary. The video also made it appear as though the woman was helpless and the bats were invading her home. However, free-tailed bats are shy and secretive. They hide in cracks and crevices as well as attics and caves. They do not hang out in the open. These bats would have to be pulled out of their roost in order to be beaten to death. Keep in mind that these animals have an intelligence level equivalent to that of dolphins. They have a complicated social structure that includes over 25 different vocalizations that make up their language. Mother free-tails only have one young per year and if anything happens to her pup, a mother will openly grieve for days with her mournful cries. Free-tailed bats are capable of eating up to 5,000 harmful flying insects nightly and they have a lifespan of over 15 years. Each bat that was killed had the potential of eating 27,375,000 harmful insects in its lifetime.

911Wildlife LogoBecause it was so late, my only recourse was to alert rescuers in the area as well as Marcelino Benito, the reporter at KHOU 11 News who covered the story and asked to be contacted if anyone could help. I left messages with Mr. Benito through email and his Facebook page that night as well as the following morning. I also put in calls first thing the following morning to our local game warden, KHOU 11 news, and our good friends at 911Wildlife, a humane exclusion company who works on behalf of wildlife as well as people. 911Wildlife was founded by Bonnie Bradshaw, a fellow wildlife rehabilitator. With offices throughout Texas, including Houston, they were able to immediately respond to this tragedy. 911Wildlife arrived at the woman’s house early that same morning and donated their time and equipment to humanely exclude the bats so no more would be needlessly killed. They also did a thorough search for survivors. Sadly, only five bats out of potentially hundreds survived her beatings. The 911Wildife crew transferred these tiny, broken souls to a local rescuer we had on standby, and the Houston Five are now with Bat World Sanctuary.

Later, I sent an email to Mr. Benito asking why he didn’t actually seek help for this woman. Having access to the internet granted him a wealth of information he could have easily used to help her. Instead, he chose to demonize bats in his report while filming her sickening brutality -which had apparently been going on for years. He even stood by while still-alive bats were thrown into a trash bag. Mr. Benito never responded to any of my emails or Facebook messages, nor the messages of dozens of other conservation-minded supporters. Many people wrote to express their extreme disappointment at the lack of any helpful information that KHOU 11 news provided for this woman or the bats.  Instead, they chose to sensationalize bats and deepen the fears of people who don’t know better.

If there is a brighter note to this story it is that this colony of bats will no longer be in harms way since they have been humanely excluded. Dozens of people came together in a show of concern for these bats and the elderly woman as well. Thank you to all of you who emailed and called us out of concern for these bats, and thank you, especially Bonnie and crew at 911Wildlife – the bats would not have had a chance without your intervention. Thank you, Marsha P., who received the bats and thank you, Marzi P., who made an 11-hour trip in one day to transport the bats back to our Mid-Cities rescue center, where Kate, our Director of Special Projects stayed up most of the night treating and stabilizing the survivors.

The Houston Five

As of this morning, the Houston Five -Timmy, Dash, Ella, Jane Ann, and Bee- are slowly recovering. Dash is in the best shape; she has some facial abrasions and internal bruising, but no fractures. Ella and Jane Ann are not in quite as good shape; they both had to have a full amputation and also have internal bruising. Timmy and Bee are in the worst shape; Timmy had a wing amputation and also a broken leg while Bee had a full amputation and severe internal injuries. All five bats are resting comfortably now, with pain medication, antibiotics, and vitamin supplements and all have started eating decent amounts of food (an increase in appetite is always a good sign!). They will remain in a ‘Hospital Hut’ for a few more days while their injuries stabilize. All of the bats are also receiving an iron supplement as they are anemic due to internal injuries. We are cautiously optimistic that they will all pull through, however, we will not be confident for at least another week.

Note: While amputations of a wing may seem extreme, bats, like dogs, can live rich, full lives without the use of a limb. The highly social and terrestrial nature of free-tailed bats in particular allows them to enjoy life outside of flight.

UPDATE – Feb 8, 2016:
Sadly, Ella passed away the day after posting this story, however, the remaining Houston Four, under the expert care of Kate Rugroden, our Director of Special projects, have now fully recovered. They will live their lives out in peace and comfort at our Bat World MidCities rescue center.

UPDATE – Feb 24, 2016:
The four survivors, now known as The Houston Four, have fully recovered and have adjusted to their new life at our rescue center, Bat World MidCities. The photo below was taken 2/24/16.

The Houston Four, fully recovered.
The Houston Four, fully recovered.

 

Back-up Generators for Bat World Sanctuary

By Amanda Lollar

For a rescue facility, the importance of a back-up system in the event of a power failure cannot be underestimated. The back-up system we had in our previous location consisted of wearing headlamps to work, then cleaning the enclosures and preparing food in near darkness until the power was restored. Normally the power only went off for a couple of hours at the most, however, one memorable summer the power went out for over 18 hours during orphan season. Orphans require temperatures of 95 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. With no power the incubator could not work, however, with no air conditioning the building stayed at a comfortable (for them) 100°F so they were quite cozy. The orphans also needed round-the-clock feedings of warmed milk formula, which was impossible to heat in an all electric facility. I improvised and heated their formula over the open flame of an old-fashioned oil lamp, which worked wonderfully. However, feeding the babies under the light of a headlamp proved challenging because it was so heavy from perspiration that it kept slipping over my eyes.

allinarow
An “assembly line” of orphaned free-tailed bat pups nursing warm formula from foam tips.

In the event the power failed during the winter, we had two large indoor kerosene heaters capable of heating the entire building. The heaters were critical because fruit bats cannot withstand cold temperatures, in fact, temperatures below 40°F can be fatal to fruit bats.

Thankfully, in our previous location the power rarely went out, however, in our new location it appears to be a regular occurrence with every storm that passes through. The fact that we are on a small hill makes matters worse, because twice last year the snow and ice made it impossible for power trucks (or anyone else) to drive up the hill. On top of that, our new facility is much larger than the old one, so it a is huge inconvenience to not be able to do the daily wash of the 25 sheets that line the floor of the fruit bat enclosure, much the panic that sets in over potential food spoilage.

It has always been our goal to one-day have a back-up generator in place. We thought it would take much longer to reach this goal, but thankfully, with the help of some very special donors, we did not have to wait. In January our generators were installed. This wonderful piece of security automatically kicks on in the event of a power failure and it will run for an extended period of time in the event of a total black-out. We opted for two smaller generators rather than one large one, which was less expensive and also saves on propane as only one generator kicks on at a time. When more power is needed, the 2nd generator then kicks on.

installing generators Jan-2016

A very special thank you to the donors who made this happen for the bats as well as the staff who takes care of their needs. There are not enough words for the appreciation and relief we feel to finally have a generator in place. A special thank you as well to David Allen at Circle A Electric, Knight Propane and Chavez Fencing for the great work you provided as well as the discounts you gave to our nonprofit organization. We are almost looking forward to the next storm that passes through. 😉

Security fence around the generators to keep the system safe.
Painting the security fence that was placed around the generators in January of 2016.

 

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