This has been our second year in a row that relatively few Spectacled flying-foxes (SFF) were affected by paralysis ticks (and so fewer orphans into care), and very few Little Red flying-foxes (LRFF) were entangled in barbed wire. Thankfully. We had 140 orphans in care including 40 from Cairns and 20 Black FFs from Townsville. Most years we care for over 300 orphans so this was a relatively sane season even though working a minimum of 10-15 hours a day.
The live-in volunteers who made it all possible: Shannon (UK), Christina (Oz), Traudel (Germany), Joakim (Sweden), Jen (USA), Madi (Oz), Fiona & Lauren (mother & daughter Oz), Georgina (Oz) , Lindsey (USA), Claudia (Mexico), Ziggy (USA), Brandon & Katherine (USA), Rachel (Oz), Celine (Oz), Laura (Denmark), Jackie (USA), Megha (Singapore), and Amanda (Oz). Also our valued local volunteers – Stacey, Sherri, Michelle, Petra, Dinah, David.
Despite there being huge numbers of LRFFs in the area, we’ve only had 25 come in off barbed wire. There have been about 400,000 camping all through the small town of Irvinebank about 40minutes drive west of here, and similar numbers after that at Tolga (10 minutes drive north) and Mareeba (40 minutes drive north). This inevitably leads to BAT politics and working with the community and Councils to tolerate the inevitable short-term damage to trees to gain the long-term effects of their pollination services. LRFFs like to hang in clusters unlike the 3 larger species of flying-fox that hang singly. They feel safer in the clusters, as being smaller in size they are more easily predated on by birds of prey. This can cause branches to bend and eventually break.