The Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) recently came to the rescue of a little brown bat that was found stuck to the door of a Calgary bookstore, The Next Page, where it was frozen and unable to fly.
“One of our volunteers, she was dispatched to go and collect the bat. She was able to gently scoop him off the door frame and into a container, where he was then transported back to hospital,” AIWC Executive Director Holly Lillie said.
Lillie explained that when a rescue call comes in, AIWC’s staff are trained to ask questions about the animal, as well as its location. She added all safety protocols are in place, and the individual who rescued the bat was wearing sufficient personal protective equipment and had her rabies vaccination.
After the little brown bat – which Lillie said weighs approximately eight grams – was secured, it was taken back to the wildlife hospital outside Madden to rest and relax before it was introduced to its new environment.
“It’s obviously very stressful, being captured [from] the wild,” she said.
According to a press release from AIWC, the bat was found to be in good health following a routine examination, but a recent drop in temperatures, lack of food, and not knowing the location of his hibernaculum (a place to survive the cold of winter) led to the animal being unable to survive on his own.
Lillie said that due to the circumstances, the bat will spend the winter at the AIWC hospital before being released in the spring, likely around May.
Bats have very unique needs, according to Lillie, and their miniscule size requires special attention to detail to make sure their temporary homes are safe.
“Our facilities coordinator made a fantastic bat room where it has all the specialized mosquito netting from the inside, so they can’t harm themselves, but they also can’t get out of the room either,” she said, adding the room has multiple humidifiers, and the bat will be fed live mealworms.
Currently, the rescued bat is in quarantine to ensure he has no illnesses or diseases before he is transitioned to the “big bat room,” where Lillie said he will be able to fly around and interact with another bat currently in AIWC’s care.
Wildlife rescue facilities like AIWC exist because there is a need for them, according to Lillie. She added that about 95 per cent of the cases the non-profit animal hospital sees are the result of human-related interactions, such as birds flying into windows or animals being struck by cars.
Lillie encouraged anyone in Rocky View County who comes across an animal in need of specialized medical attention to contact AIWC’s wildlife hotline at 403-946-2361. She said that even if the Madden location is not the closest care centre to the incident, callers will be directed to a similar organization or facility in their region that can provide assistance instead.
“Animals are in need throughout the year, it’s not just the busy spring and summer seasons,” she said.
According to a press release, AIWC has been in operation since 1993 and is accredited through the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association.