Bat Conservancy offers year end sponsorships

Rob Mies, director and co-founder of the Organization for Bat Conservation (OBC) in Michigan, said that it’s been a busy year, filled with exciting successes and some challenges.

“Our family of rescued animals at the Bat Zone has grown significantly in 2010,” Mies reported. “A colony of 25 vampire bats arrived in the spring from Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo. The zoo needed to reduce the size of their colony due to overcrowding and behavioral issues. The vampire bats have settled in well at the Bat Zone at Cranbrook Institute of Science.”

Colony vampire bats are not easy to care for in captivity, and Mies said the organization is lucky to have found two great family-owned sources for the blood they eat: organic and kosher cow blood!

Other new additions to the OBC include Sam, a barred owl transferred from the Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn University in Alabama. Sam was only a nestling when she suffered a broken wing after a dog attack, leaving her flightless. She will be part of the education program, teaching kids about the wonders of night creatures.

Angus, a 15-year-old hand-raised endangered Rodrigues fruit bat, came to live at the Bat Zone this fall. After years of healthy living at the zoo, he injured his wings and needed a home that provides special care.

There are only about 5,000 Rodrigues fruit bats in the wild. They are found on one island in the Indian Ocean, Rodrigues Island. Mies asks people to help to support conservation on the island and care for our captive Rodrigues fruit bats. These bats are critical for spreading seeds in the rainforest.

Mies said there are five ways to make it a happy new year for bats:

• Sponsor a bat.

• Donate to the conservancy.

• Buy a bat house, bat books, or a bat tote bag.

• Book a live bat program.

• Become a member or renew your

membership.

“We have many little mouths to feed,” Mies stated. “Every dollar helps us continue our mission of protecting bats and their habitats. We accomplish this by exciting kids about science through live animal programs, organizing conferences to find ways to stop the spread of ‘white-nose syndrome,’ helping people to put up bat houses to give bats safe places to live, and educating millions of people with national TV appearances.”

“Your donation will help feed and care for over 150 bats and other nocturnal animals, supplement diminishing school program funding, and support research and conservation efforts in the United States and around the world,” added Mies.

The OBC is a nonprofit organization with the mission to preserve bats and their habitats through education, collaboration and research. They also work with local health departments and government agencies to aid in public health issues associated with bats. They have trained field biologists to research endangered bats. OBC presents thousands of educational programs every year on the benefits, misunderstandings and uniqueness of bats. Thousands of programs have been given to schools, nature centers, stores, zoos, parks, museums, and other interested groups and clubs. Programs are interactive adventures into the fascinating world of bats.

Programs consist of a multimedia presentation that examines such topics as hibernation, echolocation, ecology, behavior, migration, conservation, science education, and public health issues. This then leads into a discussion of how to protect bats, things people of all ages can do to conserve them, and tactics to attract them to your property or yard. Live bats are one of the highlights in each program. All the bats OBC uses in presentations are either non-releasable, permanently injured, or captive-bred bats donated from zoos to use for educational purposes. All bats are also vaccinated on a yearly basis.

Programs compare and contrast the nearly 1,000 different kinds of bats worldwide. Bat detectors are used to allow the audience to listen to and understand the ways in which micro-bats avoid obstacles and catch their prey, and communicate with echolocation. Educational material is handed out for future reference. These programs are presented throughout the U.S.

Find out more about the OBC by visiting their website at batconservation.org.

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