In January /February be start taking the pups out to the release cage. We like them to weigh a minimum of 450 gms and have a forearm of at least 140mm. We initially used a large dog crate winched up into the canopy as we were worried about the security of the site. But after many years with no porblems we built a ground cage. Orphans are kept inside the cage for 3+ days. We believe the presence of the orphans inside the cage encourages the outside orphans to return – as well as the presence of food. Our orphans can fly out with their wild peers, learning with them about bush tucker and gaining strength and endurance in flight. It is vital they integrate into the social structure of the colony.
Daily feeding is continued for at least a month after the last orphans are put outside. The food is then reduced. They are fed less frequently as well as a lesser amount. Often in June we will still go out once a week and have 30 or so bats come down to the cage. The success of the release is evident by the numbers of orphans from previous years returning to the cage.
Read about our release cage in our Facilities section.
Photo: (right) We scanned pups returning to the cage for support feeding for the first few years. This showed that 90% returned at least once. We had a pup released in 2001 who was found on a search in 2002 with tick paralysis. She had only been recorded once at the cage, yet had survived 9 months in the wild. She recovered from the paralysis to be released again.
Watch the pups flying /climbing to the release for support feeding.
Watch the pups feeding at the release cage.