Bats do a lot of good when they fly out into the night!
Every day we live surrounded by nature even in dense city dwellings but most of us ignore this important fact, we are just far too busy! As humans, we always put ourselves first and consider not the big picture of life on planet earth or fully comprehend that all species are connected in some way. Today we have the opportunity to learn about nature with instant sourcing for information on everything written about species, wilderness areas and the natural world from the World Wide Web and yet we learn even more from our friends who will often share their own intimate and authentic experiences of nature with us.
Nature enlivens us and boosts our sense of well-being enormously, it gives generously and can instill a depth of passion that drives us onward with purpose. Our lives become enriched by seeing, listening to and being outside immersed in nature from childhood through all stages of our aging lives.
A friend of ours, whose passion and drive in life stems from her utmost love, concern and care for the wellbeing of animals is one such friend who has taught me about the plight of Bats in Australia and while doing so, about Bats Worldwide. Had it not been for Janine, I would never have known much more about bats other than the fact that they flew through the night! Janine arrived in Alert Bay to join one of our tours years ago now, her passion for and knowledge of marine mammals was enormous and so began a long and lasting friendship that has spanned more than two decades. In recent years Janine has been volunteering at a bat rescue clinic and now, because of her sharing I have gained insight into the plight of bats worldwide. The photo's posted along with this blog have been taken from the website of the Shoalhaven Bat Clinic in NSW Australia where Janine volunteers at:
https://www.facebook.com/Shoalhaven.Bat.Clinic?ref=hl http://batworld.org/ http://www.dontshootbats.com/
In their Facebook posting today, the Shoalhaven Bat Clinic from New South Whales has posted on news of the spread of white-nose syndrome that is spreading to bats rapidly across Eastern Canada. " The little brown bat, northern myotis and tri-coloured bat have been functionally extirpated by white-nose syndrome in some areas of eastern Canada, said Graham Forbes, a biologist at the University of New Brunswick and a member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada subcommittee. The spread of the disease is at an average rate of 200-250 kilometres per year, according to the Canadian Wildlife Health Co-operative. There is currently no cure or containment for the syndrome, and without one, it is expected that the entire Canadian population of bats will be affected within 12 to 18 years, the group said."
This is a serious problem facing all Bats in Canada and the future of Bats becomes even more dire as we look at numerous problems facing their species elsewhere in the world.
Another friend of whom we have also met through our whale watching tours is Giusy who hails from Rome, Italy. It was in 2013 that Giusy an illustrator and fashion designer first walked into our lives and she like Janine, is so inspiring with her committed love for all marine mammals, animals and people. Her constant postings on face-book drive us all to look deep inside our hearts and makes us question our own measure of compassion and kindness towards others (animals and human) on a grand scale. Guissy and Janine both of whom met each other in Alert Bay while on tour onboard our boat in 2013 have collaborated recently with Giusy illustrating a beautiful Flying Fox image that can now be purchased from the Shoalhaven Bat Clinic in NSW. Depicted and sold on t-shirts and bags, the purchase of one of these will raise funding for the clinic and also the profile of Flying Foxes throughout Australia.
Inspired by our friends Janine and Giusy I have written three poems about Bats as I see them. Please note that it is only looking out through my eyes that the words became written in my form of poetry. For educational information about Bats, about Keystone Species and more I have included the links below, there are many more links on Bats that you can also source for yourselves.
My own personal experience with bats was when I was living for a time in Australia and while working at a small Bush Hospital. Coming home after an afternoon shift late one evening and climbing into bed, eager to sleep as I had a morning shift to rise for early the next morning I was mortified to find a bat flying around inside my bedroom. Every effort I made to block the bat from my room was thwarted by the bat somehow slipping under the tiny crack below the closed-door and to fly around in panic once more! I should add that even with a woollen hat upon my head I slept little that night and thankfully was able to find and then safely release the bat that I found hanging from a curtain and upon opening a window, it flew safely out into the early morning light. I will also add that while I did not shriek out loud, it was somewhat startling to have the bat flying around my head during part of that night.
I hope that you enjoy the poems and recognize like I do now, that Bats are connected to 'we humans' and are very important in the role they play in our natural world. They need our help more today than any other age in which their species have evolved in. Please do what you can by passing this blog on if you feel inclined so that more of us who love our connection to nature and the natural world might be inspired to learn more about Bats.
Our Ignorance of Bats
We think that we know them but sadly we do not and in our ignorance and fear we believe they are our enemy and that belief feeds the persecution of bats world-wide.
They too have fears, it is of humans with our being in their space. Their flight and feasting is in the dark hours and is where we interfere with them the most.
We shriek out loud, frightened by and frightening them, they who are trapped and trying to escape into the safety and quiet of the night.
The only weapon in their defence is their tiny teeth and claws, a bite or scratch that barely makes our skin bleed, yet from which a disease can then spread.
But, remember that all species bite when cornered so instead, on seeing bats we ought not panic but stay calm and make an easy exit for their escape.
The hunting of bats in countries around the world and consumption of them as bush meat puts hunters and handlers at risk of passing on and contracting a disease.
Our fear becomes a witch hunt doing more harm than good. A 'pandemic' in our minds will bring to them unnecessary death, we need to educate ourselves instead.
Vulnerable to over hunting and habitat destruction in some countries of the world, how many of us even know of bats ecological functions of insect pest control, pollination and seed dispersal?
They are not aggressive and have no quest to harm us. A keystone species, we need to understand their plight and learn how best our species can both share the space for they do good for planet earth world-wide.
Wee Baby Bat
Little one your dark brown eyes peep out at us, so innocently.
Your story is a tragic one your mother has died and yet still you cling to her lying close beside you.
How would you know that her death was caused by interfering humans and could have been avoided.
Her life was lost but you we have now found and we will care and nurture you with tenderness and grace.
Our hope is great that on some night you will soon fly outside into the dark as once your mother did.
Rules That Apply to All Bats
Be mindful when you see them, take precautions when you handle them, be gentle and quiet in their presence and do not fear or startle them. Allow for them to fly about outside when darkness comes while you sleep soundly through the night.
Please Pass on, become better informed, volunteer if you are able to at some rescue centre for wildlife (or other) and more importantly, overcome your fear of Bats and other animals and insects of which you deem to be creepy and are frightened of!
My heartfelt thanks and photo credits go to the Shoalhaven Bat Clinic ~ all photo's were taken from their Facebook photo collection. The last photo is of the printed bag the Clinic has for purchase and shows the beautiful illustration by Giusy.