One day you are flying free, chasing bugs as nature intended and then, suddenly, you are caught in a mist net and transported to a place unknown to you. You are held down and viewed under microscopes and bright lights. Life, as you have always known it, will never be the same. Then one day you injure a finger, and the very injury that should have cost you your life has now saved you.
Meet Beene’ (pronounced Ben-nay), a pallid bat with a very lucky injury. Beene’ was captured with a group of her kind to be part of a research study at Texas A&M University. It has long been the practice of most institutions involved in animal research to destroy the subjects at the conclusion of the study (or if they sustain an injury during the study). Sadly, research animals are rarely returned to their rightful place in the wild.
However, a dedicated young TX biologist involved in the study thought it wrong that such a beautiful creature, who did nothing but exist as Mother Nature intended, should have this fate befall her. She contacted Bat World Sanctuary to see if there was a place for Beene’. Of course the answer was a resounding “Yes”.
In her heart, Beene’ is a wild bat and because of this she remains shy and timid around humans. Although she had a difficult time settling in at the beginning of her new life at Bat World Sanctuary, she now “hangs out” in padded roosting pouches with other non-releasable pallid bats and big browns (Beene’ is pictured in the center). She also interacts with the ever endearing Mexican free-tail bats. Beene’ does not have to be hand-fed, and except for periodic health checks, she is undisturbed because that is the way she likes it. Beene’ is one of the lucky ones in more ways than one. Not only was she spared from being euthanized, she was spared from participating in the study. Given her shy nature, being a research animal would have been extremely stressful for her. Instead, she now enjoys an unfettered life in simulated cave that opens into a flight area; her nightly flights limited only by her handicapped finger. We will continue to care for Beene’ until the end of her natural life. It is not the best thing, for that would be the wild, but it is a good runner up.