A nice National Geographic video about the Black Flying Fox in Australia. These giants may frighten some when you first see them, but the are actually harmless fruitivores with no interest in humans at all. Once you get a closer look, you will see they have adorable puppy faces.
By: Michael Fox After my Cubs in Mud post two weeks ago I received this comment from a local environmental professional: “Hi Mike, You could include our long range pollinators, flying foxes and lor…
A good reminder that flying foxes and birds are Australia’s primary pollinators and not insects, and some good information on how gardeners can net and fence so that we can live in peace with these very important animals without killing them in fruit netting.
An nice article on microbats along the Murray River in Australia. Definitely watch the picture/ audio presentation at the top of the page. Microbats are so important to insect control though most people never give them a second thought because they are so rarely seen. World wide microbat declines are extremely worrying as it could lead to more farming problems if insects are not naturally controlled.
Spectacled Flying Fox Babies in transit from Cairns to Brisbane
Here are the latest arrivals at the Australian Bat Clinic. They are 98 orphaned threatened Spectacled Flying Foxes that have been sent down from Cairns for some extra TLC during the bottle stage of their development because so many orphans have flooded into the Tolga Bat Hospital in Atherton. Strict quarantine procedures must be kept with these little guys since the range of the Spectacles does not overlap with the Grey Headed Flying Fox that is common around Brisbane though also listed as a vulnerable species. Volunteers are needed at the Australian Bat Clinic over the next few weeks if anyone lives locally and would be interested in helping out.
I just found this video on YouTube of a news segment on the Australian Bat Clinic from last December. It shows parts of the clinic I volunteer at as well as Trish who runs the place, and of course it features lots of cute baby bat video. Never fear the fridge was repaired and the bats grew up healthy and strong and were later released. However, this season of baby bats has just started coming in so the clinic as well as all wildlife rehabilitators will need more donations and volunteers to help another generation of native wildlife make their way into the wild world.
Hey, I don’t like that the new bat is called a demon bat! Bats get enough bad PR without naming them things like that. I think he is rather cute, and how can anything the size of your thumb be demonic? I also think it is super cool that they are continuing to discover new bat species. People would be amazing if they realize how many different kinds of microbats are flying around while we are peacefully sleeping.
Seriously, this is yet another example of why biodiversity is so important. A lot of plants and animals have unique chemical compounds that can be used for all sorts of unexpected medical purposes. If those species don’t exist, we can’t research them and learn their secrets to benefit ourselves. Conservation and environmental research isn’t just about saving the planets beauty for ourselves and future generations to enjoy. It is also about helping advance technology by mimicking nature who does so many things so much more gracefully than we do.
And the stupidity begins…. Little red flying foxes don’t stay anywhere for very long. They are a very migratory species so trying to chase them off is somewhat an exercise in futility. Destroying trees also doesn’t seem very wise as Australia is short of trees and a lot of other animals and birds would be living in those trees with the bats. Yes, Hendra is a concern, but panic and ecological upset are not generally good ways to handle a emerging disease.
Bats are important pollinators in other parts of the world outside Australia, and it seems that this Cuban plant is specifically shaped to attract pollinating bats. That is really cool! I wonder how many other plants are specifically adapted to attract bats? Research has shown that some Australian trees have peak nectar production in the middle of the night because Australian flying foxes are the primary forest pollinators of most native trees.
I really hope that there are no more Hendra outbreaks this year and that the bat conflict dies down. Culling a threatened species that is the primary pollinator of the forests is beyond stupid. Dispersal sounds nice, but flying foxes are wild and fly which means it is not possible to control where they go. They never go where you want them to go and generally you end up wishing they would just go back where there were to start with by the end of a lot of drama. Several Australian bat re-locations have already learned these lesson. This article at least seems to cover all the various sides, and I don’t think you would need to guess which side I am on.
The recent outbreaks of Hendra virus have lead to flying foxes (the natural reservoir for the virus) getting a lot of bad press in Queensland. This conservation website has some good information on flying foxes and Hendra virus and why some of the media proposals of culling or relocating flying foxes are likely to increase the problem by stressing the bats and making them more susceptible to disease.
Also if you are a horse owner in the region, you should familiarize yourself with Biosecurity Queensland’s recommendations on reducing your horse’s risk. Not all of their suggestions are practical with everyone’s horse setup, but anything you can do could help your horses.
Before condemning the bats please remember that flying foxes are the primary pollinator and seed distributor of eucalyptus trees and native flora. Without bats to fill this ecological niche, the Australian forests and all the animals that depend on them like koalas could also become endangered.