With Coronavirus pandemic being linked to bats, it certainly comes as a surprise that there’s an organization in Australia, called Bats QLD or Bats Queensland, that rescues and rehabilitates bats! And they’ve their reasons for doing so.
There are two major groups of bats found in Queensland – flying foxes or fruit bats and microbats. Surprisingly, both share many similarities with humans. They have a similar skeletal structure, are warm-blooded, give birth, and suckle their young.
Queensland state law protects bats in the state. These flying mammals cannot be killed and can only be shooed away by means of non-lethal methods, such as smoke, noise, and lights. So, it isn’t surprising that bats have become a menace in the state. Just three months back, the town of Ingham was literally ‘invaded’ by hordes of bats. So bad was the situation that locals termed it a ‘bat tornado’, where these creatures overran the town’s Botanical Gardens and infested the nearby trees.
However, this has not deterred this non-profit and volunteer-run organization to provide succor to injured and sick bats. This is because bats benefit the region in more ways than one. All hardwood tree species are entirely dependent upon flying foxes for cross-pollination and seed dispersal since these trees are only receptive at night and not in the daytime. These bats help in cross-pollination and seed dispersal in this coastal forest area, since they can travel immense distances in one night. A single flying fox can disperse up to 3,000 seeds a night.
Another bat species of the region, the microbat, is an insectivorous bat that lives on insects. It can devour bugs about a third of its own body weight every night! Its rate of insect consumption is around 500 insects per hour. Some, like myotis bat – also an insectivorous living near waterways – can eat 1,200 tiny fruit flies in an hour! So efficient are these bats in consuming insects that some farmers install specially designed bat boxes on their farms as a form of pest control!
However, with increasing urbanization, this species faces threat from man-made hazards, such as power lines, barbed wires, domestic animals, vehicles, and roads. This is declining their numbers at an alarming rate. However, a greater threat is the lack of food. According to Bats QLD, about 80 percent of calls received by it pertained to bat starvation. This is exacerbated due to climate change and recent bushfires.
Bats QLD is certainly rendering a yeoman service in preserving these species of flying mammals.
If You would like to appreciate their work please Donate as much as possible on their Paypal.