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Psuedo Bat Sanctuaries

A sad but true fact is that pseudo animal sanctuaries are on the rise and pseudo bat sanctuaries are among the greatest offenders. This has become a growing concern for true bat rescuers who may lose funding to groups passing themselves off as a sanctuary when nothing could be further from the truth. Donors are also harmed when they donate to pseudo-sanctuaries believing that their funds are going to a good cause.

Pseudo-sanctuaries may even be a legitimate non-profit organization. They sometimes call themselves a conservation organization, or even a “conservation fund”. Some of these groups are actually breeding bats in their basement and selling the innocent offspring to the public for outrageous amounts (knowing the baby won’t survive without it’s family). Pseudo-sanctuaries may exploit the bats in their care by putting them on display and charging people to see them. Pseudo-sanctuaries may also pack bats into uncomfortable containers to travel across the US. The exhausted bats are then used in educational programs for a fee. These groups may state they rescue bats and even call themselves a sanctuary, all while never showing any proof of bats being rescued or injured bats in rehabilitation.

True bat rescue groups/sanctuaries recognize the fact that the lives of the bats are as important to them as our lives are to us. They understand the critical need for enrichment and quality of life. They do what they can to ease suffering, even when that means ending a non-savable life by humane euthanasia. They share knowledge and ideas with other rescuers that can help save lives. The staff either volunteers or gets paid very little.

The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries states the following about animals rescued by bonafide sanctuaries: ” For these animals… whose profound losses can never be regained… sanctuaries are the line in the sand that says never again. It is over. You are safe now. At last.”

How can you tell the difference between a bonafide bat sanctuary and a pseudo bat sanctuary? Here are a few things to look for:

  • Look for barren enclosures without enrichment or places for the bats to hide.
  • Watch for bats on public display and an admission being charged to view them.
  • watch for images that are purchased or have been copied from other sources.
  • Investigate to make sure the bats are not being bred or exploited.
  • Make sure that fundraisers held for projects in the making are completed as promised.
  • also watch for vague language in fundraisers that leaves you feeling slightly uncertain.
  • See if bat rescue/rehabilitation is legal in the state where the group is located.
  • Look for TOTAL financial transparency.
  • See if the facility is either ASA or GFAS accredited or verified.

Here are two examples that should raise red flags.

A baby bat that was purchased from a bat “conservation fund”.
A barren enclosure without places for the bats to hide and get a restful sleep.

Disreputable organizations prey on your emotions. There are so many deserving sanctuaries and rescue groups that need your help and support. It only takes a little research to make sure your donation goes to a worthy charity. Click here for a checklist that will help you further identify pseudo animal sanctuaries.

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