As I stated previously, during my four weeks here I will be volunteering at a bat clinic and trauma center.
Like most of the work that needs to be done is associated with the bats first I’ll run through a typical day with them.
We start the morning off by raking the encasements the bats are in to remove the saw dust with pee, poop and food the bats drop; if it’s concrete we hose down the ground. We also clear them out of the food buckets and wash them off (over 75 of them). Then we move on to the clinic area with the bats that are watched more closely stay and we clean out their trollies of newspaper (used to not have a mess of food/pee/poop on the ground), remove the food buckets, provide new juice and water bottles and then place those trollies outside. We also clean off the walls and several railing the bats hang on inside the clinic (I’ll gradually post pictures of all these things to make things more clear). Once the morning work is done we usually settle for “tea time” (tea and coffee are equally popular in Australia). Then we start preparing the bats’ food for later in the day; we cut different fruits, peel and smash bananas for their banana smoothies and collect the crates in the encasements to fill them with apples. Once we complete all these preparations it’s about lunch time.
After lunch their food gets divided into buckets and we go into every encasement and hang the buckets from hooks on the ceilings (bats don’t ever stand so the ceiling or walls are the most accessible places for them). We also make sure the bats have a sufficient amount of water for overnight. Then we go back to the clinic and begin placing newspaper and food in the trollies while also removing the empty juice bottles. Once the sun starts going down we place these bats back inside with a sheet covering half their trollies for added darkness and warmth. After all these tasks are completed we are pretty much done for the day.
Honestly speaking I’ve never had a desire to work with bats and working with them will take some getting used to. It is also interesting to see how cozy everyone else is with them and how important the species is while I walk into their encasements trying to dodge and avoid any of them peeing on me (they LOVE peeing anywhere and everywhere). This is definitely me stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing something new so I’m excited to see what I’ll continue to learn from it.
Now let’s talk about the Trauma center part, what I thought the volunteering would be mainly involved with and what caught my attention the most during my search. Whenever someone sees/finds an animal from the wild that has been injured in any way they call the clinic for a rescue. At the clinic the nurse tries to stabilize the animal and depending on the state then figure out the next steps to try to save the animals life. Sometimes, (as previously stated) the animal isn’t injured but the mother of the animal was either injured or killed before the animal was big enough to survive on its own so we care for it until it is ready. With these animals we usually assist in feeding them, nursing them, watching them, etc. There are many different animals that can be brought in. So far I’ve seen several different types of birds, kangaroos, wallabies, a squirrel glider, possums and an 8 month old pademelon.
The clinic is located on a mountain with a huge forest as the front and back yard (my snaps are proof). This is necessary to allow for the different animals to have the proper environment and size for their encasements and for their transition back into the wild. All the animals brought to the clinic go through different stages before they are put back into the wild and have a transition phase that allows them to readapt to their natural instincts of survival.
As great as it would be for all the animals to survive this isn’t always the case and in the 3 days I’ve been here I’ve already experienced 4 passings. This time of year is especially difficult because as the days start getting shorter during the time of an animals readjustment they are likely to get hit by cars when it is dark out. However, here at the clinic Trish and all the volunteers do the best we can to help the animals rescued.
Trish is the head nurse and owner of the clinic. So far she’s made a great impression but she always has so much to do so getting a hold of her can sometimes be very difficult. She is also always on call to rescue the animals that have been injured. It is very evident she is a hard working woman who cares tremendously for all the animals and I’m excited to see what I continue to learn from her, the animals and the other volunteers.
Stay tuned, there will be lots of images and stories to come from the animal clinic.