The purpose of wildlife caring is to release animals back to the wild. If an animal is unable to survive in the wild due to its injuries or disability, it is unfit for release. Those unable to be released must be euthanased according to the Code of Conduct for Wildlife Caring. There are only very special circumstances under which an animal may be kept in permanent care.
The veterinary surgeons who donate their consultation time to attend to wildlife are an invaluable support to volunteer wildlife carers. They are very much appreciated as providing an important service for our injured native wildlife. Veterinary advice about flying-fox health and treatments can be difficult as there are few with the experience or knowledge of how to treat these animals correctly. Thankfully there are some dedicated veterinarians who keep their own vaccinations up to date and who give their time and energy willingly to assist carers rehabilitate sick and injured bats.
The rehabilitation of bats is dependent on the type and extent of the injury and the type of illness. Bats suspected to be infected with Lyssavirus or Rat Lungworm are euthanased as the disease processes can be slow and painful, and inevitably end in death. Entanglement injuries usually affect the wings of bats, however feet and legs can also be badly injured.
The wing membrane has incredible healing capacity and even a fairly large hole will heal well in a relatively short timeframe. However there are times when the membrane is simply too damaged and the tissue 'dies back' right to the edge of the wing. Without sufficient surface area, the bat is unable to fly.
Right: tissue die-back on wing membrane due to barb wire injury
It is always extremely gratifying being able to release a bat that otherwise would have died had it not spent time in care.