Human handling harms flying foxes

A WIRES carer holds an injured flying fox found in western Sydney. Residents are urged not to touch the animals if they are found, and call WIRES immediately. Picture: Carmela Roche

The number of rescued flying foxes is at its peak, according to WIRES carers.

Experts say the bats have been frequenting urban areas due to a food shortage on the east coast, and are put at risk when humans try to handle them.

Even if residents have good intentions, touching flying foxes should be avoided, flying fox co-ordinator Storm Stanford said.

“We understand members of the community are very compassionate and care about our native wildlife. However, if someone is not vaccinated against Lyssavirus and attempts to rescue a flying fox it puts both the member of public and the animal in a potentially dangerous situation,” she said.

“You can keep yourself safe and save their lives if you simply don’t touch and just call WIRES as soon as possible.”

According to NSW Health regulations, if a resident is scratched or bitten by a flying fox, the animal must be tested for Australian Bat Lyssavirus, which requires the euthanasia of the flying fox involved in the incident.


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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: Human handling harms flying foxes
Human handling harms flying foxes
Human handling harms flying foxes
BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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