Rescue of a Juvenile Flying Fox by Redfern Police Officers

Rescue of a 3 Month Juvenile Flying-Fox in Redfern Sydney - Valuable Contribution by Police Officers and Veterinarian

On the morning of 9 June 2020, WIRES & Sydney Wildlife Emergency Rescue received a call from a police officer as follows:

'We are Police Officers attending a Redfern premises on another matter, and noticed a flying-fox on the ground being attacked by crows. The small bat is now climbing up a wall, approximately half a metre up. No damage to wings observed, however the bat is shaking like a leaf. We, Constables Jason & Rachael, need to leave but have concerns that the crows will come back.......'

A trained, vaccinated, Sydney Wildlife Rescuer, accepted the urgent call and on arrival found the police officers still with the flying-fox protecting it from the birds. Birds usually try to puncture the eyes of flying-foxes to render the animal defenceless.

These police officers need a special thank you because the juvenile female flying-fox, now referred to as Rachael, would certainly have been blinded by the birds' attacks and/or dead without their constant vigil.

Another thank you must also go to the veterinarians who regularly help to treat injured or ill wildlife. In the case of Rachael, Annabella Scott, a Veterinarian from Animal Doctors clinic, diagnosed a corneal laceration to the flying-fox's right eye and a lesser injury to her left eye. 

Similarly, Emma Hall, a Veterinarian, from The Wild Vet clinic, regularly attends to flying-fox injuries caused by inappropriate wide aperture, flimsy fruit tree netting (which urgently needs to be removed from sale in garden/hardware shops and replaced with robust wildlife safe netting with apertures of 5mm x 5mm or less) and, of course, the ever present, treacherous barbed wire, is the cause of much misery, pain and death to wildlife, and should be replaced by plain fencing wire.

Wildlife carers cannot confidently rehabilitate wildlife without the kindness and expert advice, generously given by veterinarians which aid the recovery of Australian animals, birds or reptiles.

Little Rachel, the flying-fox, is now 'living the life of Riley' while she recovers for the next month with the company of another female juvenile, who was impaled on barbed wire while feeding on flowering lemon scented gums which often overhang treacherous barbed wire fences.

Juvenile flying-foxes are particularly vulnerable to injury because they are not as adept as adult flying-foxes in foraging for food and commonly become entangled in substandard netting, barbed wire and powerlines.

Native food for wildlife continues to be scarce as a result of the drought and bushfires which raged during last Summer. Ongoing destruction of forests for logging and development continues to be a major threat for Australian wildlife. 

I urge the Federal & State governments to reconsider logging of native forests and I encourage members of the public to plant native flowering & fruiting species in their gardens to assist wildlife.

Thank you once again to the caring police officers & veterinarians that helped in the rescue and rehabilitation of Rachael, the juvenile flying-fox. 

Flying-foxes are important indigenous pollinators of Australian forests.

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