Caring for Wildlife
The costs of caring
The main costs for the animals are:
At about six or seven at night the first course for the gliders is a special formula mixed with honey and water. Then, shortly before midnight, we dish out mealworms. There are about eight to ten places for the gliders to feed at. On our weekly shopping trips to Bundaberg, which is about 110km from where we live, we pick up the special formula and honey for the gliders and every two or three weeks we also pick up 2kg of mealworms from a freighter there, which we order in from Brisbane.
Depending on the time of year we try to supplement the food with grass hoppers or moths, which are hard to catch for us. But once we have them inside the enclosures they are not only a food source for the gliders but also a means for the gliders to learn how to catch their own food.
Monthly costs up to: $290.00
- Food for Flying Foxes
The Flying Foxes demand much more food. Just on dark their first course is 4 litres of Apple/Mango juice and shortly after that a big helping of fruit; about 8 to 10 kg cut into small bite sized pieces. Then, about midnight about 2 litres of banana smoothy is served.
All that food we get when we drive to Bundaberg. Here we buy apples, pears, rock melons, water melons, papayas, bananas, pine apples, usually by the box because we get a better price.
Since bats feed hanging upside down there are about 20 bowls and feeders suspended from the trees in the enclosure or hooked onto the shade cloth walls.
Monthly costs up to: $380.00
Travel time and costs are quite extensive. Apart from the weekly shopping trips we have to squeeze in trips to pick up injured animals.
When people find an injured animal in their back yard or elsewhere they call us or our local Wildlife Carers Association. If we are lucky the animal is brought to us, but more often than not we have to drive there, sometimes more than 200km, to collect the animal, drive it home or straight to a Vet.
Monthly costs up to: $290.00
- Medical Care
In Australia, Vets usually offer free consultations for injured wildlife. Only if medication is needed, we pay for that. However, as carers for Flying Foxes we need to be immunised agains the Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) which some Flying Foxes might carry and can transmit through bites or scratches. The injections are about $760.00 for the two of us.
Monthly costs up to: $40.00
- Maintaining Enclosures
When we started we didnít know how important the maintenance of the enclosures was. First there is the cleaning of the inbuilt kitchen and fridge and the bowls and feeders the animals feed from during the night. From time to time all trees, beam structures and feeding station have to be hosed down and disinfected to avoid diseases from a fungus, which can grow on bird and bat droppings.
Sometimes quite substantial trees have to be replaced because the gliders bite into the bark of branches for sap, which eventually kills the tree. Bats can also strip a tree of leaves over night with fatal consequences for the tree. This, of course, occurs more often in an confined environment like our enclosures and rarely in nature, where there are plenty of trees to choose from, so trees have time to heal.
We also have to provide nesting boxes for the gliders to be hung up inside the enclosures and also outside on trees, especially before a new colony of gliders is due to be released. So we frequently built boxes for new nesting places and as replacement for weathered ones.
Monthly costs up to: $80.00
As we are pensioners, the monthly expense of well over $1,000.00 puts quite a strain on our small budget.
Therefore, we tried to absorb some of the costs by renting out an apartment and a bungalow on our property through airbnb. Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the prescribed restrictions this income stream has all but dried up.
Thatís why we are asking for your help. Every donation for the animals, even the smallest, would be greatly appreciated.
Helene and Manfred
Forest Lodge Wildlifecare
Two young sugar gliders peering out of their nesting log.