I have been with ‘Bat Rescue Sunshine Coast’ for over 5 years.
I didn’t intend to be a fervent defender of these wonderful mammals, having started my ‘wildlife rescue’ career with the cute ones – you know – possums, baby birds and the odd echidna.
Then, a friend said to me ‘Once a bat, you’ll never look back’ which was her not too subtle way of asking me to join the small team of stalwarts who rescue and rehabilitate our flying foxes. She pulled out her smartphone and showed me a picture of a baby grey headed flying fox, rescued from her dead mother. I was hooked. Now, after 5 years, I am even more hooked.
The flying fox is an incredibly intelligent and empathetic animal. If you have to rescue a tawny frogmouth or a sugar glider possum caught on barbed wire, you know you have a real fight on your hands. Your intentions may be good but they see you as a predator – and they bite!!!
Rescuing a flying fox from barbed wire (or fruit netting) is different. It’s as though they understand that you want to help them. A few kind words, perhaps a little hydration via a pipette, a towel over their bitey bits and out with the wire cutters to release them from their misery. OK – it’s not always that easy! Some do fight. Some are so badly injured or dehydrated that the rescue becomes a barbed wire/bitey bits nightmare.
Much as I’d like to say that I’ve become ‘professional’ at these rescues, I have not. Driving to the scene, I often find myself stressed, upset and tense. Not a good way to start what might be a delicate rescue.
A year or so ago, I was introduced to Australian Bush Flower Essences. Most particularly the ‘Emergency Essence’. I read the label and had a sniff and thought – ‘What’s to lose?’ I had a conversation with a friend and she insisted on giving me a sample of the Essence, suggesting I spray it on myself and the towel I use in the rescue. I haven’t looked back.
I arrive at the rescue scene with a degree of serenity. The ‘Emergency Essence towel’ seems to have a soothing effect on the trapped bat. We both face the tedious ‘disentanglement process’ with a tool I would never have imagined could make a difference – an Essence.
Sammy Ringer, QLD