SUMMER RESCUE NUMBERS
Summer is coming to a close and we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. This has been a grueling orphan season with non-stop calls and rescues throughout the months of June and July. We rescued over 300 adult and orphaned bats over a two-month period, as well as assisting in dozens of rescues throughout the US. The video below is of the last three juvenile free-tailed bats being tested for flight before they were released. Bats must sustain flight for a full 10 minutes and be able to dip and swoop before they are deemed releasable. One of the three bats in flight is Echo, who was going to be thrown into the trash before a Good Samaritan rescued her and brought her to us.
BAT WORLD FEATURED ON THE DODO
We were lucky to be featured on The Dodo, a site with over 20 Million followers. Here is a video they created of our rescue work.
The Michigan 90 continue to thrive in their new home. Below is a video of 33 year-old Statler’s progress and the tree house we created for him thanks to your support.
Bat World Sanctuary is now joining forces with ReWild to help save bats in South Africa. ReWild has changed their name to Bat World ReWild (BWRW) to represent this exciting new venture. South African bats are in dire need of help; together we will be able to save more bats and help BWRW play a much bigger role in bat conservation in South Africa. Please join Director Jane Burd at Bat World ReWild and stay tuned for updates.
GIVING DAY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER! September 20, 2018 is North Texas Giving Day! This year we will be raising funds to help us with the lifetime care of the Michigan 90. Please mark your calendars and please consider a donation on September 20th.
This year we hope to raise $50,000, with a special treat in store for our supporters if we make that goal. More to come on Giving Day so please stay tuned!
Matching Challenge Grant Met! We are so excited to announce that thanks to our wonderful supporters we met the generous $15,000 challenge grant with a month to spare! The funds were granted by a wonderful couple, Gladys Cofrin and Daniel Logan, and will be used for the lifetime care of The Michigan 90.
Update on the Michigan 90
This update is on Bella (in particular). She is an orphaned short-tailed fruit bat, one of the 90 rescued from the now-defunct OBC. Bella’s mother abandoned her (likely due to the stress of the transfer) so she was hand-raised until she was old enough to rejoin her mom and the rest of the colony. Click here to watch her story.
Fire Safety for the Sanctuary
We have been saving for a sprinkler system for the facility, but that plan became financially unfeasible after rescuing the Michigan 90. However, when one door closes, another opens! We received a generous donation from Lynn Hochstetter which allowed us to purchase Barricade Fire Gel, a system that is used during wildfires (our greatest danger). Now, instead of only protecting the main facility from fire, we will be able to protect our bat castle and our caretakers residence as well.
Summer Rescue Videos Click here to watch videos of some of the orphaned and injured bats we have rescued this summer. Included is footage on saving a baby bat from certain death, feeding orphaned red bat pups, and a tiny princess rescued at our bat castle. Rescues are coming in daily so there are more videos to come!
Summer Workshops and Internships
This summer we hosted Alessandra Tomassini from Tutela Pipistrelli, a bat rescue group in Rome, Italy; and Taylor Driscoll, who is attending the Royal School of Veterinary Studies in Scotland. We also held our 30th workshop on the rehabilitation of insectivorous bats. To date over 200 participants from 24 states and canada have attended our workshops.
Bat Castle Repair
Our bat castle developed some major cracks after the ground shifted and settled. Most of our land is typical Texas red clay so shifting occurs occasionally. We called in a foundation expert and joists were applied to one side and one end of the castle. Because the other side and end sits on solid rock, there is no danger of the foundation shifting again. Thanks to donor support we were able to use a portion of our emergency funds to cover this critical repair. For more information on the bat castle, click here.
Sunshine Rescue Club This has been one of the busiest summers we have had in years, mostly due to the renovations occurring in a nearby town. Bats once occupying old buildings have lost their homes and moved into roosts in other buildings, causing severe overcrowding. The horrific heat we are experiencing, combined with the overcrowding, has caused bats to become grounded. Many heat-exhausted bats are found clinging weakly to the outside of buildings. We have rescued up to 20 bats DAILY this week alone. If you would like to support our rescue efforts please consider joining the Sunshine Rescue Club. Click here to join and help us save bats!
Videos of some of the orphaned and injured bats we have rescued the summer of 2018. Included below is footage on saving a baby bat from certain death, feeding orphaned red bat pups, a tiny princess rescued at our bat castle, and bats rescued from a bathroom sink.
The last 10 days have been grueling. We spent every single day rescuing pregnant bats that continually became trapped in a specialty store located in an old building in downtown Mineral Wells, Texas. Last Thursday we finally convinced the building owner that a humane exclusion had to take place immediately -before babies were born- so mothers and babies alike would not become trapped. Thankfully 911 Wildlifecame to the rescue and all the bats are now safe. All total we rescued 181 bats, most of them pregnant. All but two were released into our Bat Castle where they can come and go at will. The remaining two bats are healing from injuries sustained in the wall, but they will be able to go free soon. The video below shows part of one day’s rescue, that took place in the stifling hot bathroom of the specialty store.
During these past few weeks the Michigan 90 have been doing well. We are still raising the last pup (Bella, pictured below) who was born after arriving at Bat World. Her travel-stressed mother abandoned little Bella soon after giving birth so we are hand-raising her. Just yesterday Bella progressed to eating semi-solid food (banana in warm goats milk) and her table manners went right out the window!
Over a dozen of the Michigan 90 bats are elderly and will need special care, so we recently created a “GeriBatric Ward” to give comfort to these little elders during the final years of their lives. The enclosure is large enough to allow the occupants to have privacy when they need it as well as having multiple places to snuggle, roost and feed at their leisure. The floor is padded to prevent injuries in the event of a fall. The enclosure hangs inside the fruit bat’s area so they can also receive colony visitors at night.
On top of the rescues and additional care needed for the Michigan 90, orphan season just arrived and phone calls and babies are rolling in (check our rescue log here). Throughout all this, we are still trying to raise the funds needed to match the wonderful $15,000 grant offer that came in last month to support the Michigan 90. We only have until August to raise the funds and with the additional rescue work taking most of our time we are growing a bit worried. So far we have aquired just over $2,000 towards the matching grant. Anything you can do to help us secure this incredible offer will be appreciated more than you may realize. Please click here to donate. Alternately, you can donate through the Sunshine Rescue Club or even through this link (paypal is accepted).
Over the past week we have been much busier than usual rescuing bats that had become trapped in several businesses that occupy a downtown block in Mineral Wells, Texas. Many of the buildings are old and in need of repair, which allowed the bats access through loose bricks and window frames. The bats ended up in a barber shop, a vacant storage building and a clothing store. As this is being written we have received calls with more bats to rescue today.
Because of all the rescues and emergency treatments for the incoming bats, we have not had time to share some fantastic news. Over the last two weeks we have received two incredible matching grant offers for the lifetime care of the Michigan 90! One challenge is for $2,000 and the other is for $15,000!!! Both grants have been entered into our fundraiser page – please click here to help us earn these wonderful challenge grants for the Michigan 90.
Our progress in creating a life of joy for the Michigan 90 has continued during the many hours we have devoted to rescuing local bats as well as those worldwide. These once abused and neglected bats are doing so well. The little balding short-tailed fruit bats are growing a lush coat of fur, and Chessie, Walter and Statler have all gained weight. With their toe claws properly trimmed, they spend their new-found freedom exploring enrichment items and finding bits of mango and papaya hidden in treat cups throughout the enclosure. In particular, the African fruit bats have just blossomed. Their shyness has disappeared and they now wait eagerly with the other fruit bats at treat time, excitedly squawking in anticipation of a melon treat and even impatiently reaching out to get the treat faster as it heads their way.
Bat House Pup Catcher
Please remember, baby bat season is just around the corner. If you have a bat house please consider adding a pup catcher to save tiny babies who may accidentally fall from the house. It’s simple to create, costs very little and is proven to save lives. Click here for free instructions.
In addition to the 300+ permanent residents cared for daily at Bat World Sanctuary, we rescue hundreds of bats annually and return them back to the wild. We also support organizations both nationally and internationally that rescue bats. We track our efforts on our Rescue Log which highlights the work we’re doing across the globe. When you join the Sunshine Rescue Club you help us continue our work on behalf of bats the world over. Click here to learn more about the Sunshine Rescue Club.
The past three weeks have perhaps been among the most trying we have ever encountered.
It started with the rescue of 90 fruit bats from the Organization for Bat Conservation (OBC) after it suddenly closed due to allegations of sexual harassment against the former Director, who allegedly left the organization “profoundly insolvent”. For two decades we had watched the sad conditions of the bats being “used” in countless programs across the U.S., so we jumped at the chance to offer these bats lifetime sanctuary.
Many of the bats were on loan from zoos and other institutions so those bats had to be returned to those facilities. The bats that remained, however, included 90 bats, some of which were old and infirmed and with other various issues that made them unappealing to zoos and like-minded facilities, where appearance matters. The bats we rescued included 50 short-tailed fruit bats, 10 Egyptian fruit bats, 12 African fruit bats, 15 Jamaican fruit bats, 2 Indian flying foxes and 1 Rodrigues fruit bat.
Taking on 90 additional mouths to feed is a daunting task but thanks to you—our wonderful supporters who helped us build a new, larger sanctuary—we have the room to accommodate these poor, unwanted souls. When the bats arrived we were both joyous and saddened at the same time. We were joyous to give these bats a new lease on life with all the enrichment they deserve, but sad to see how emotionally and physically neglected some of them appeared to be, and that many of the smaller bats were thin and balding. Three of the elderly bats had nails that were so long they had to be physically cut out of the mesh crate in which they arrived.
In the midst of all of the happiness at having the bats safely with us, we lost one of our own, David Naranjo, who was tragically killed in a car accident. David was our “shining star” and so looked forward to giving the 90 new arrivals the life they should have always had. The loss of David hit us all very hard and in the most profound way imaginable. David was born to be a part of Bat World and in that sense irreplaceable. We have a wonderfully dedicated Bat World family consisting of staff and volunteers who have pitched in to help until we can eventually get someone else trained.
The “Michigan 90” are adjusting to their new lives. Some individuals are being rehabilitated, including “Coco” a critically endangered Rodrigues fruit bat who was born in 1997 and loaned to the former director of OBC, along with another of her same species. In 2012, it was determined that Coco was going blind so she and her roost mate were moved to a small cage. Her roost mate died at some point but Coco remained confined to the small cage alone because, under the instructions of the former OBC director (and with no reflection on the OBC staff or the Board), it was believed that Coco would “freak out” if she was with other bats. On the alleged instruction of the former director, her claws were purposely allowed to grow so they curled 270 degrees (3/4 of a circle) making it so she could barely move around. Because of the severe, curled length of her toenails, Coco could not unlatch her toes from the cage ceiling to turn right-side up to relieve herself, so she unwillingly soiled herself (behavior we are working to correct).
Along with other allegations of abuse and neglect, we later learned from a former staff member that Coco was allegedly kept in a broom closet for two years before finally being transferred to a different cage. The former staff member reported that she would leave the door of the closet open while she was there so Coco could receive fresh air:
Bats are exceptionally clean by nature but in order to maintain themselves they must be able to ambulate. We trimmed all of the bat’s toenails that were overgrown and are in the process of rehabilitating their behavior as well as their feet and nails. Three bats (including Coco) were so accustomed to not being able to move about once they were placed in a certain location, they just hung in the exact same spot for hours on end. We are now helping them to understand that they are able to move freely on their own within our expansive enclosure. We do this by gently helping them move their feet and guiding them across the enclosure ceiling while supporting their backs with one hand (as seen in our Live Bat Cams video footage, below).
We were promised that none of the bats were pregnant, however, several of the smaller short-tailed fruit bats were indeed pregnant on arrival. These tiny future mothers were placed into an enriched flight area, segregated from the rest of the colony, to await the birth of their babies. Two of the females gave birth to girls within days of arriving so they were allowed to rejoin their colony in the large flight area with their offspring.
The other mothers who gave birth to boys will stay with their youngsters until the boys are old enough to neuter in approximately 3 months. They will then be allowed to rejoin their colony. One mother abandoned her baby, likely due to the stress of the transfer, so we are hand-raising her baby until she is old enough to rejoin her mom and the rest of the colony.
Most of the Michigan 90 have a lifespan of 25 years or more. In order to return to normalcy, some of these bats have months of rehabilitation ahead. Your donations help us to accomplish all that we do for these bats and more, but by taking in 90 extra bats we have essentially reached critical mass. We have the room and the staff-power to care for them, however, we need to ensure that we have the funds available for the lifetime care of these neglected and abused bats so they never have to suffer again. We can only do this with your support.
We are trying to raise $250,000, a lofty goal and one that we expect will take some time, but also one that will ensure that these innocent bats will never suffer again. With Bat World Sanctuary, they will receive ample food, veterinary aid, and loving care from a staff dedicated to ensuring their every creature comfort.
You helped build the safe sanctuary they now call home; please help us give the once abused and neglected bats lifetime care.
On behalf of the 90 beautiful souls who will now have lifetime peace and happiness, thank you for your support.
We lost our shining star, David Naranjo, March 29, 2018 in a tragic car accident. It is impossible to express the pain we feel over the loss of David. He truly loved the bats and Bat World Sanctuary, and he lived at the facility. Please know that the person whose words you read on some of our recent Facebook posts are those of David, whose likes and shares surpassed our own.
Although David was only with us for 6 months, little by little, that undeniable light that he had shining from within grew with each passing day; a light that touched the soul of those who knew him. David’s tenderness with the animals that gravitated towards him was tangible; his expressive face would beam at the opportunity to gain more knowledge about the bats, and they thrived in his care as he embraced them for all that they are.
David was 6’9” tall and we use to laugh together at how his extraordinary height made him even more perfect for the job because he could reach any bat without a ladder. David physically towered over others but most of all he soared to heights of humanity that most of us can only dream of attaining. Many young people these days seem to only talk-the-talk, but David walked-the-walk without speaking a word. He was brilliant, yet he was humble; he was gentle, but so very strong; he was dedicated, kind and talented. In the short time we were privileged to know him, we feel that we had barely scratched the surface of the greatness he possessed.
David ~ We can still hear your laughter and feel your presence. We miss you so much dear, sweet David. May you always travel on the wings of the bats that you loved so much.
On September the 9th, 2017 we received a call from a man named Cody LeDuc who lived in Florida and in the direct path of Hurricane Irma. He said he had two bat houses full of bats and he was very worried because there was no way the bat houses would survive the storm. Cody stated that he had been searching for help for his bats all day and we were the only “bat people” who answered the phone. Our first concern was being able to remove the bat houses but Cody assured us that was no problem – he would do anything to save them. We asked him if he was leaving the area before the storm and he said no, he was staying put because his house was hurricane safe. So we asked him if he could bring the bats inside and he said yes, he had both a barn (also hurricane safe) and an empty room available in his home if needed. We instructed him to place a net over the bottom of the bat houses while the bats were inside during the day, then remove the houses and take them to either the barn or a room he could close off from the rest of the house. We also suggested that if he uses his home to secure them for the storm, to make the room cold to induce torpor in the bats (semi hibernation) until the storm passed, which could take two to three days. So, the plan was to remove the bat houses while the bats were inside, place the bat houses into a net enclosure inside his barn or a room in Cody’s home, remove the screen from the bottom of the houses, and provide water in shallow dishes just in case the bats wake up, explore and become thirsty. Cody called me back later and said the plan was in action and the bats were safe inside.
Cody saved hundreds of important little lives with his effort. Before we hung up we thanked him for caring so much about the bats. He replied with “No problem, we are saving everything, even the tadpoles.”
The following day a lady named Alice from Georgia called us very concerned for the bats in her bat houses. She said she had been searching the internet on how to save their bats from Hurricane Irma, which is supposed to hit her area as well. Alice had three bat houses. She saw our post what Cody had done for his bats and she wanted to do the same thing. We gave her some guidance and she followed suit, saving the estimated 75 bats roosting in her bat houses. The following day we received a call from another wonderful bat person named Ashley who lives close to Orlando, FL. She had a bat house with about 400 bats inside. She had been advised that the bats would all leave before the storm and not to worry, however, the bats did not leave and the bat house and all 400 bats came crashing down around 10 pm after the storm hit. Ashley and her husband ran outside and retrieved the house and placed it in their garage. Thankfully many bats flew out of the bat house and took shelter in various places inside their garage, however, the impact killed quite a few bats and two were injured. After the weather calmed down Ashley left the garage door open so all the bats could fly out. We provided guidance on how to provide temporary care for the two injured bats and then located a rescuer in her area so the bats could receive the care they need. On our last communication with Ashley, the bats were eating and drinking and slowly recovering.
Imagine what this world would be like if it were full of people like Cody, Alice and Ashley. ♥
On Monday, August 28th, 2017, we received word that bats were being affected by rising flood waters created in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. We immediately reached out to offer our support to several good Samaritans who were already saving bats. However, by Monday evening it became apparent that we needed to head to Houston asap to rescue as many bats as possible.
The bats roosting under bridges were particularly affected as the wind was too strong to allow them to leave their roosts and the water rose too quickly to enable escape. Bats need a drop-off to take flight, and the drop off itself proved deadly as many bats ended up in the rising waters. Those that could take flight became sopping wet from the torrential rains. A small percentage took refuge in nearby parking garages and entrances to office buildings where they remain today, wet, without food, water or a way to escape.
After arriving hours after midnight on Tuesday, Bat World’s Bat Care Specialist Erica Quinzel began rescuing bats before dawn on Wednesday morning. By noon she had already found approximately 200 bats that needed help so she created a makeshift care center in her truck and worked from a parking garage. Thankfully, over half of the 200 bats recuperated after receiving critical fluids (injections of electrolytes) and emergency food (hydrolyzed protein) that allowed almost immediate recovery and the energy needed to take flight.
70 bats needed critical care and were kept overnight. The photo below shows some of these tiny, exhausted beings resting and recovering from their ordeal.
On a bright note, after the water receded from under the Waugh Bridge on Tuesday, chirping could be heard from within the bat roost and thousands of surviving bats were spotted flying out that evening to hunt for insects. The bats that Erica saved were released back to their original colony last night just as their surviving roost mates were emerging.
Sadly, 22 of the bats in the most critical condition did not survive the night. However, most of the remaining bats have responded well to treatment and will be released tonight with only two staying behind due to their injuries.
Word spread about our rescue efforts and we began receiving dozens of calls from the Houston area about displaced bats as well as individuals finding bats on their porches, in their yards and other places. This information was passed on to our rescue team in Houston as it came in.
A huge thank you to everyone who sent donations to help. Your thoughtfulness and compassionate support is appreciated more than you may know.
Included below are videos of some of the bats we have rescued this summer, including Benger the Avenger, Dory, Coy, Travis, Gizmo, Tidy Bat, Marria and BB. 46 juvenile free-tailed bats came from one rescue after they went on a joy ride through an old building that had been used for storage for several decades. Their video covers their rescue, treatment and release into the bat castle.