By Lib Ruytenberg
October 17, 2014
It seems appropriate that in this Year of the Threatened Species the first flying-fox pup of the season for WIRES Northern Rivers was of the nationally listed threatened species, the grey-headed flying-fox, which is the iconic species for this year’s theme.
Early in the morning of 22 September, a woman was walking in Stuart St Mullumbimby and saw some movement in the grass under a large fig tree. Upon closer inspection, she saw a new-born flying-fox. She scooped him up into a towel and took him to the Mullumbimby Vet Clinic.
The staff at the vet clinic administered essential first aid and called WIRES.
The new-born grey-headed flying-fox still had his umbilical cord attached, indicating that he’d just been born. He was a premature birth, as his eyes weren’t open and he was underweight. WIRES carers named him Stuart.
He is now three weeks old and is thriving. He will be in care for another few months then will be released.
Thanks to the perceptive early morning walker and Mullumbimby Vet Clinic.
Spring is the maternity time for flying foxes. Orphaned flying foxes
generally come into care in October and November.
Their mothers may have died because of barbed wire or netting entanglement,
or electrocution on power lines. Sometimes pups are found alone on
power lines or on the ground. In the Northern Rivers we get black
flying foxes and grey headed flying foxes. When they come into care,
they are fed 4 or 5 times a day and gradually introduced to fruit.
They bond quite strongly with their human carers. At 10-12 weeks
of age, they become fully weaned and enjoy a fruit diet. This is also
when they start to fly. They are then sent to bat creche
for a few weeks before being transferred to a release aviary. They
do not miss their human carers at all and enjoy mixing with the other
flying foxes. They are released from the aviary after a few weeks
and are support fed there for a few months after their release.
This picture shows a black flying fox pup, Robby, on the left and
a grey headed flying fox pup, Francie, on the right. Robby was found
alone on the ground in Casino and Francie came from Legume where her
mum was found electrocuted.
Both have now gone off to creche, and will be released later in the