Hannah Hadfield, Scotland, 2014
When I was fortunate enough to get the chance to volunteer at Tolga Bat Hospital I really had no idea what was in store for me. Within an hour of arriving I had a tiny little baby spectacled flying fox in my hands, sucking her way through a bottle of milk. Her name was Gracie and I was instantly in love & completely fascinated. She was the first baby bat or ‘bub’ that had arrived that season. There were about 180 bubs by the end of the season.
After that it was non stop fun, hard work, excitement, fascination and friendship. The next month was both the best & the hardest work in my life. What I learned from Jenny & the wonderful team of volunteers at TBH was incredible. The work done at the hospital is amazing & plays a key role in the survival of these incredible species.
The work during the orphan season is hard. Cleaning, preparing food for the bats, handling & cleaning bats, feeding bubs goes round the clock. However, all the hard work is completely worth it to get the opportunity to do what you get to do.
I always loved fruit bats, but I left there completely obsessed. I also met a few lifelong friends in my time there, both human and bat kind! One of my special little bat friends was Ivy (who I got to name) who had unfortunately lost an eye pretty young in her little life. She was the best little character and I still often think of her and all the other orphaned bubs we helped to release that year.
I feel extremely proud to have been a part of such an incredible team, and such an amazing mission. If I didn’t live on the other side of the world, I would be back every year!
PS Hannah called in on her honeymoon 2 years later to help for a few days and to introduce her husband Ross.