You may have heard on our social media but thanks to the amazing generosity of the public and to Frome Bat Care we have achieved our dream of purchasing a bat flight cage! This cage will be for bat pups and adult bats, that are in need of flight training prior to release, that come into Severn Wildlife Rescue.
Where will it be located?
This flight cage will be erected at Dean Farm Trust an amazing vegan animal sanctuary that rescue farm animals from the meat industry. The farm is run by the fantastic Mary Frankland the co-founder and trustee of Dean Farm Trust. She wanted to both educate the public and create a haven for farmed animals where they could have a second chance at life.
Mary has inspired all of us at Severn Wildlife Rescue as a lot of our values align with her own and we are so privileged to be working along side her and her team.
A little bit about us
Severn Wildlife Rescue was founded by Emily Wilson, Charley Bird, Naomi Sim and Ashley Dale (registered bat carer BCT) in May 2020 and are a network of home based rehabilitators. With the help of our amazing and dedicated volunteers we rescue all manner of British wildlife and pride ourselves with our anti-speciesist approach. During the summer we’ve had everything from pole cat kits to seagull chicks and baby bats. As a rescue we specialise in the rescue and rehabilitation of bats.
Why are bats in need of help?
Currently in the UK we have 17 species of bats, some of which are classified at vulnerable or endangered on the ICUN red list. This decline in population is due to factors such as deforestation, human development projects and cats. Surprisingly cats are one of the driving forces causing the decline in bats. Cats are not natural predators of bats and will sit outside a roost picking off bats as they emerge.
What is the bat care process?
At Severn Wildlife Rescue we strive to give animals a second chance at life. By rescuing and rehabilitating these individuals we are giving them the opportunity to live a full and successful life. Many of the bats we get in are pups during the spring and summer. These pups come to us a variety of ways, the most common being abandonment or falling from the roost.
The hot weather this year has meant that many of the females from the maternity roosts have fled due to the heat, leaving all the pups behind in order to save themselves.
These pups then end up with us and are fed every 3 hours by our surrogate bat mums. This is a very intensive job and requires a lot of time and coffee! As amazing as our bat mums are there are some things that humans just cant teach and that is to fly. As the only flying mammal in evolutionary history it is obviously crucial that our pups are amazing flyers. In order to do this, we use a flight cage.
What is a bat flight cage and why is it important?
A flight cage is a large aviary like structure which is covered in mesh. The small mesh allows insects to fly in but doesn’t allow bats to fly out. Bat boxes are inside the flight cage and these provide roosts for the young bats. When we are confident that the bats are flying well, eating on the wing and exhibiting natural behaviour then we soft release them. Soft release is a prolonged process of release, it allows the individuals to come and go from the flight cage as they please. Over time they will come back to the cage less and less until they go into the big wide world.
Without the flight cage it wouldn’t be possible for the pups to practice flying for prolonged periods or eating on the wing. This is why the flight cage is so important, pups comprise about a quarter of all the bats we get throughout the year.
Why is this bat cage so important for the South Wales and Bristol Areas?
This flight cage will be the biggest flight cage in the area and will not only allow Severn Wildlife Rescue to rehabilitate more pups but also support independent bat carers within the surrounding area. There are a shortage of flight cages across the UK and with the number of pups coming into care increasing every year, every flight cage counts.
What is next?
The cage arrived at Dean Farm Trust last Tuesday and we are currently in the process of painting it so that the wood is preserved. We have finished levelling the ground and we hope to start erecting it in the next two weeks. Meanwhile we are working with Mike Bailey the founder of Hereford Bat Rescue who currently has our pipistrelle bat pups in his soft release cage, to be returned to the wild.
Due to the unpredictability of when the cage will be ready for bats we want to get all our bat pups from this year back into the wild before winter arrives.
What can I do to help?
Volunteer: If you have any wildlife experience volunteer with us, we rescue a variety of wildlife not just bats.
Donate: Help us in our fight to help preserve our bat and wildlife species. Our next aim is to set up a bird aviary for our bigger patients for next year so every penny can make a difference.