She isn't a veterinarian nor a wildlife official!
11 years ago, Denise Wade started rehabilitating and taking care of flying foxes. It all started with Amber, her first orphan that captured her heart. "I still have her photo in my wallet," she says. "And I have a photo of her on my fridge."
Now, she may have cared for thousands already with an annual count of up to 400 bats! "I'm in deep now," she says.
Wade volunteers for Bat Conservation Rescue Queensland. She lives in a suburban block at the Rochedale South in the south of Queensland (outside Brisbane). There, she takes care of dozens of orphans, with a small aviary for the recovering bats to practice flying. She even swaddle some of them in blankets, hand feed them and give them bat-shaped pacifiers to suckle! And to simulate a more wild-like place, she hangs mangos and other fruits from strings. Yep, she went that far!
She usually takes care of orphans found after their mothers have been electrocuted by power lines or attacked by dogs. Some, and probably more disturbing, are trapped on barbed wire fences. Most of them, however, are found in protective netting hung around fruit trees.
"Unfortunately, there is a lot of euthanasia in this job," says Wade.
Also called fruit bats, flying foxes are important pollinators. However, foraging fruits resulted to dangerous conflicts with people. "Flying foxes like to live where people like to live," Wade says.
Wade knows she can't singlehandedly fight deforestation or reverse warming trends. Nonetheless, she hopes that her simple move can convince at least a few people to be more sympathetic to this species. "I don't put up the gruesome stuff," she says. That way, the adorable bat photos may make people love them like she does.
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