Two privately owned female Egyptian fruit bats, likely purchased from the pet trade, were donated to a small zoo in Michigan. After two years the zoo no longer wanted young girls. We were contacted for help, and we jumped at the opportunity to give these bats lifetime sanctuary. We immediately arranged for a flight for the girls, to take place the very next day, to bring them from Michigan to Texas.
However, they did not make the flight because the airlines would not accept the shipping container. We were upset by this, but then horrified after being told that the girls had been “given away” because the zoo “could not wait any longer” to place them. We pleaded with the zoo to get the girls back, knowing that they would once again become part of the exotic pet trade and likely be used as breeding stock if we did not intervene. By some miracle, the zoo said they again had the girls and would send them to us. So, we over-nighted a proper shipping container to the zoo and once again arranged for a flight for the bats. But again, it did not work out – this time the airlines rejected the paperwork the zoo had prepared for the bats. (Story continues below the video.)
Devastated, but fearing that something like this might just happen, we had arranged -in advance- for Laurie, a bat care professional in Michigan, to be on standby to rescue the bats so they could not be “given away” again. Even though Laurie had surgery that same day, once she knew that the bats were in danger, she rushed to the airport to secure the bats. After they were safely in Laurie’s hands we all breathed a collective sigh (and tears) of relief. Over the next three weeks, the bats were cared for by Laurie and Jessie while we figured out how to get these deserving girls to Texas.
During this time, the weather turned too cold to safely fly the bats, so Bat World volunteer Larry used his time off over the Thanksgiving holidays to fly to Michigan. He then rented a car and drove the bats 1,300 miles to Texas, making the trip in a little over 24 hours. The trip went well, and the girls arrived safe and sound to us on Saturday evening, November 24th. They spent their first night in an enclosure with elderly Egyptian fruit bats so they could get accustomed to the sights and sounds of Bat World’s boisterous Egyptian fruit bat colony in our large indoor-outdoor flight enclosure. At dawn the next morning, the girls were united with this colony; their new their lifetime family.
Had it not been for Laurie and Jessie, these beautiful and innocent fruit bats would have ended up back in the cruel, exotic pet trade. And had it not been for Larry, they would have had to wait until spring when the weather warmed enough to attempt another flight.
This rescue was made possible by our loving supporters. We will move heaven and earth to save bats like this, but we could never do it without your help.