18.9 C
Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Premature bat pup finally ready for release

Latest News

Hospital staff want to park for free while they work

It seems that Lismore Base isn’t the only hospital whose workers would like to park their cars for free while they work.

Other News

Praying for Vanuatu in Ballina

The World Day of Prayer is a gigantic ecumenical event staged on the first Friday of March.

Transparency needed

Janelle Saffin MP, State Member for Lismore. I read with interest Mia Armitage’s front page article in last week’s Echo...

Music fest aims to be COVID-19 recovery event

Byron Bay could host a two-day, beachside music and arts festival in June this year, after an application to hold the event was lodged with Byron Council.

A closer look at Byron Council’s fossil fuel investments

Is Byron Council putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to reducing carbon emissions?

Interview with James McMillan, founder of the Byron Surf Festival

With the Byron Bay Surf Festival just days away, founder James McMillan took a few minutes to talk to Seven about the awesome things planned for the coming weekend.

Ministers misbehave

Keith Duncan, Pimlico Accusations of appalling behaviour by the Liberal Party in covering up misdeeds within its ranks just keep...

Born premature, this tiny grey-headed flying fox pup raised by WIRES volunteers is now ready for release. Photo Lib Ruytenberg
Born premature, this tiny grey-headed flying fox pup raised by WIRES volunteers is now ready for release. Photo Lib Ruytenberg

In a remarkable tale of care, a premature grey-headed flying fox that has been looked after by north-coast WIRES volunteers and hand fed for three months is now ready for release.

The group’s chief bat-carer Lib Ruytenberg said the little fellow was found by a group of Shearwater Steiner students at Mullumbimby .

When he first came came into WIRES’ care, the tiny newborn weighed only 46 grams, about half the normal birth weight.

He was kept in a humidicrib for the first few weeks and would take less than 1 ml of special formula per feed.

‘Attempting to raise a pup like this is a delicate task and uncertain in its outcome,’ Libe said.

‘Flying-fox pups normally open their eyes immediately after birth but this little guy did not open his eyes until he was 11 days old.

‘As the weeks went by, he continued to grow and finally convinced carers that he would indeed survive. Now at nearly 300 grams and flying, he is enjoying blossoms and fruit and will soon be released with other flying fox orphans.’

Lib said that while adult bats are normally released near the colony that they came from, in the case of pups ‘they need to be “soft fed’ for a period of time after they are released’.

‘In our area there are only two care facilities in the region of bat camps: they are at Bellingen and Alstonville, so he will be released in one of those two places some time in the next couple of weeks,’ she said.

Interestingly, flying foxes are the only wildlife species which benefit from forming a bond with a human. WIRES have to be careful not to humanise all other wildlife species. Flying-foxes, however, bond with their human carer for the first 10 weeks of life then, just like human teenagers, only want to mix with their own kind and are no longer interested in their primary carers.

The premature flying fox pup at just four days old. Photo Lib Ruytenberg
The premature flying fox pup at just four days old. Photo Lib Ruytenberg

Flying foxes are very special animals. They are the only flying mammals and, as nature’s gardeners, they are the only pollinators and long-distance carriers of seeds to enable the growth of particular hardwood trees. Rainforests would be sparse without them.

Grey-headed flying foxes are categorised as vulnerable to extinction on the national Threatened Species list.

WIRES is a registered charity, not a government service, and relies heavily on donations from the general public.

The all-volunteer Northern Rivers branch needs various types of assistance — as not all members do animal rescues. Call the local 24-hour hotline on 6628 1898 or go to http://wiresnr.org/Helping.html to find out how you can help.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Another story of the dedication & selfless care by Wires, where would we be without them. But to the school kids who found this precious little fellow.. Thank heaven we’re getting through to them and a promising young group of carers & scientists are emerging. If only a few of the gun toting “get rid of those rotten things” among we older generations could show some enthusiasm, passion & caring as was by these kids. Bravo.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

International Women’s Day kerfuffle at Ballina

One councillor walked out of Ballina Council's recent meeting during an emotional discussion about speakers at an upcoming IWD event.

Croquet club gets new turf as it prepares to host NSW championship

The Byron Bay Croquet Club is ready for another big year that includes new turf, hosting a state championship and building on last year’s membership growth.

Ahoy m’hearties young and old in Bangalow

‘Ahoy m’hearties’ was the catchcry at Bangalow Parklands on Saturday afternoon during the Connecting Generations Pirate Party.

Blue-green algae amber alert still active at Uki

Last Thursday Tweed Shire Council issued an amber alert for blue-green algae in the Tweed River at Uki, with Clarrie Hall Dam remaining on a green alert. This morning they say the alerts are still active.