The bat rehabilitation centre at Wildwood has had a busy year. Hazel Ryan, our Senior Conservation officer, has received over 100 grounded bats found by members of the public. As a volunteer bat carer for Kent Bat Group, she initially cares for them at home. Once they have begun to recover from their injuries they are brought into the Wildwood flight cage for flight practice, to build up stamina and to allow Hazel to assess their suitability for release.
Due to the fluctuations in weather during summer this year, many bat mums had to change roosts, leaving their young behind. Dehydrated or lost pups were often found by householders on their walls or in their gardens. Where possible the baby bats were re-united with their colonies. The rest were hand raised by Hazel and a keen Wildwood volunteer. They were given flying lessons in the flight cage and the conservation team bred hundreds of fruit flies to enable the bats to practise their insect-catching skills. After a few weeks in the cage, the young bats were soft released by moving their bat box, containing food and water, to the outside of the cage. All the bats were ringed so that we can identify them if they turn up in any bat boxes that Kent Bat Group monitors in the Blean woods.
Hazel’s work was recently featured on the Halloween episode of ‘Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh’. You can watch it here for a limited time.
We would like to thank everyone who donated items for our bats from the Amazon Wishlist. These included weighing scales, handling gloves and a dog carrier. The equipment has been invaluable this year with so many bats to care for.