In a first for NSW, a new microbat aviary has been built near Goulburn at Windellama for their recovery and rehabilitation.
The centre is owned and managed by WIRES Inc. and funded through a community grant from Holcim Australia. Called the Holcim Bat Flight Centre it opened recently.
It will enable microbats that have been orphaned, suffered habitat loss, or are recovering from injuries or illness, to regain flight fitness prior before being returned to their native habitat.
There are approximately 32 species of microbats found in NSW. They range in size from four to 40g, and can often consume their entire bodyweight in insects overnight.
The centre has already received requests to accommodate microbats from areas throughout the state including Goulburn, Marulan, Yass, Young, Wagga Wagga, Coffs Harbour and Sydney.
At the launch, WIRES Inc. Chief Executive Officer Leanne Taylor said until now there have been no aviaries in NSW large enough to accommodate the flight rehabilitation requirements for many of the microbat species that come into care.
“Despite their small size (from only 4cm in length), many bat species are adapted for fast flight above the forest canopy,” Ms Taylor said.
“They need very large, empty spaces before they will even consider taking off and the new aviary is a 10m long by 10m and 4m high.
“Thanks to this generous donation from Holcim we now have a suitable space right here in the Southern Tablelands capable of accommodating almost every species of microbat found in NSW.”
Holcim general manager Stephen Mossie said the company was delighted to support this excellent community-based environmental program.
“This facility will make a huge difference to microbat rehabilitation, both for the 18 or so species found locally, as well as for species right across NSW,” Mr Mossie said.
“The aim of this new centre is to protect and preserve some of NSW’s unique native species and help ensure their survival.”