Flying foxes run gauntlet of dangers

SPECIAL CARE: Connie Kerr is a wildlife carer for Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland Inc. and will hold an information course on how to care for bats.
SPECIAL CARE: Connie Kerr is a wildlife carer for Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland Inc. and will hold an information course on how to care for bats. Sarah Harvey

IT CAN be a perilous life for a bat.

From getting tangled in fruit netting to being hit by cars at night, the winged creates are always in need of rescue.

Fortunately for them, they have people like Connie Kerr who come to their defence.

For the past 15 years, the Camira resident has been a wildlife carer specialising in flying foxes and other bats.

Ms Kerr said it was important to ensure the safety of flying foxes because they were crucial to keeping native forests healthy.

"Without them, many Australian trees, such as eucalyptus, might not survive," she said.

"Fruit bats are Australia's only nocturnal, long-distance pollinators and seed dispersers to native forests.

"So no bats, no trees."

The 47-year-old said fruit bat numbers were in rapid decline with two of the four species found in Queensland already federally listed as "vulnerable to extinction".

But she said more people seemed to be interested in their protection and welfare.

"Flying foxes and bats have always had a bad image problem to overcome," she said.

"A lot of people see them as 'winged vermin'.

"But thanks to community awareness and positive publicity, people are learning to appreciate and understand them."

As a member of Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland (BCRQ), Ms Kerr will co-present a bat rescue and new carer training workshop on Sunday.

The introductory course will teach the techniques used for safe handling and rescue of flying foxes and other bats.

The workshop will be held at RSPCA Wacol from 10am to 4pm.

The cost is $15 for non-members - and free for members.

For more information or to book a spot, email or phone 0488 228 134.

If you find a bat in need of rescuing, don't touch it and call BCRQ or RSPCA on 1300 264 625.

Batty facts

  • Bats are the only mammal capable of sustained flight
  • There are more than 1000 species of bats in the world and 90 of these are found in Australia
  • Bats are placental mammals and have a long gestation period compared to other animals of comparable size. Flying-foxes rarely give birth to more than one young
  • Flying-foxes can live up to 25 years, weigh up to 1kg, with a wing span up to 1.2m and fly at about 25kmh.

Topics:  bat conservation and rescue queensland connie kerr flying foxes wildlife carers

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