Batzilla The Bat Is A Social Media Sensation, But There's A Conservation Message Behind The Cuteness

10/11/2015 10:43 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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The day I speak to flying fox carer Denise Wade, she's just taken a group of juvenile bats to fly for the first time after being in rehab.

At home, a premature orphan is swaddled in a handmade blanket, requiring feeds every two hours, and about a dozen injured flying foxes are recuperating.

This is a normal day for Wade, who looks after flying foxes -- commonly called bats -- and shares her stories, videos and photos as Batzilla The Bat.

She said there was a conservation message behind the cute videos.

"Flying foxes are so misunderstood," Wade said.

"That’s the purpose of my page -- to educate people because they have such a bad name and people need to realise bats are under threat and if we don't do anything, we might lose them."

Wade is the volunteer flying fox coordinator at Bat Conservation and Rescue QLD and will sometimes have more than 60 bats in her care.

She said it all started nine years ago when she met a flying fox at a conservation event.

"When I met my first flying fox, I couldn’t believe it," Wade said.

"I fell in love and pretty quickly decided to get vaccinated and get a special licence to rehabilitate them."

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She mostly cares for orphaned baby flying foxes or older animals that had been injured by dogs, barbed wire fences and other tangles and said they were good patients.

"We are predators to them but flying foxes work out very quickly that we are not going to hurt them," Wade said.

"I believe they understand what's going on. Usually they're feeling so poorly that they're quite happy to do what’s required."

Right now, she said she'd just started the release process for a group of juvenile flying foxes, to join a colony south of Brisbane, and was also caring for a dozen in rehab and six orphans.

"I have a tiny premmy with us at the moment that needs to be fed every two hours, and is wrapped and swaddled and kept in a humidicrib," Wade said.

"Injured rehabilitation is what I love to do the best though."

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She said that while she felt she was easing individual suffering, there were large scale issues threatening the survival of these at-times divisive animals.

Indeed at Queensland's meeting of mayors last month, flying fox annoyance was one of the main agenda items, calling for more effective ways to move on the sometimes noisy and stinky creatures.

They also can carry the deadly lyssavirus but Wade was quick to point out cases were rare, and most people erroneously thought bats also carried hendra virus.

"We tell people the simple rule is 'no touch, no risk'. If you see a bat in trouble, leave it to the wildlife carers."

Another one set freeAnother one goes home Another one released to an uncertain futureAnother day closer to...

Posted by Batzilla the Bat on Friday, June 6, 2014

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