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Food shortage causing high rate of abandoned pups

Friday, November 18, 2016

We have seen a dramatic increase in underweight and abandoned flying-fox pups during early November.

The pups are being abandoned due to a shortage of natural food along the NSW coast, a combination of fewer flowering eucalypts and fruiting trees this season and the ongoing deforestation around coastal areas of NSW.

WIRES is also receiving a greater number of rescue calls for flying foxes caught in tree netting and orchards as their natural food sources are depleted.

Flying-fox females are excellent mothers but without enough food they stop lactating and are unable to raise their young. As the pups are too young to fend for themselves they starve to death.

WIRES usually only rescue a couple of pups a week at this time of year. Already this season 130 pups have been rescued. Most are about 4 - 6 weeks old and they would normally remain with their mothers until at least 6 months of age.

Our trained and licensed WIRES volunteers have been entering certain camp perimeters to assist whatever animals they can. However we strongly advise members of the public to avoid handling any flying-foxes and to call WIRES immediately if they see a flying-fox needing help. If you do get bitten or scratched it is important that you seek medical help.

The fact that flying-foxes are being seen and rescued in Western NSW as well as in coastal regions is an indicator of serious food shortage as they are coastal dwellers and these areas are only part of their range when food sources on the coast have failed.

Should you see an abandoned, sick or injured flying fox do not attempt to catch or handle it but call WIRES Rescue line immediately on 1300 094 737 or the WIRES Flying Fox only Emergency hotline 0405 724 635