The Houston Humane Society announced on Dec. 28 that nearly 700 flying foxes had been successfully released into a colony under the War Drive Bridge in Buffalo Bayou after a rescue operation to save the bats from the extreme cold.
A total of 693 bats were released at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 28, and only five were returned to the nonprofit Wildlife Center for rehabilitation, said the Wildlife Center’s marketing and events coordinator. says Anna Saxton. About 100 members of the general public came to see the release.
“We consider this a very successful release,” she said. “Everyone on our side is excited. It has been a busy few days managing many bats, but we are very proud.”
The rescue effort was led by Mary Warwick, wildlife director for the Houston Humane Society and Houston’s only trained bat rehabilitator, according to a Dec. 28 news release from the nonprofit. did. Warwick knew that the Houston area was set for freezing temperatures on December 22nd, so he realized the bats could suffer from hypothermia. This causes the bat to lose its grip from the bridge and fall onto the concrete ground, potentially dying or injured in the process. .
“Had it not been for her foresight to come down and take the initiative to check for bats, it might have turned out so differently,” Saxton said.
According to the release, the bat was rescued from the ground, placed in a warming box and incubator, and given IV fluids to help it recover. During rehabilitation, Warwick kept the bats in separate kennels for each colony in the attic. Officials said it provided ideal temperatures to create a hibernation-like state.
Pads were placed under the bridge to prevent injury from falling.
The bridge is considered one of the state’s bat-watching locations and regularly draws crowds to witness their flight each evening around dusk. In addition to his 693 bats rescued at War Drive, another 909 of his were rescued by the Houston Humane Society at the Perland colony.
After issuing an alert about the situation, the Humane Society has noticed an increase in support from communities, including those rescuing bats and bringing them to wildlife centers, Saxton said. She emphasized the importance of keeping bats safe by using gloves and other means to avoid touching bats with bare hands.
“If a human touches a bat with their bare hands, eventually they have to be euthanized,” said Saxton, who also noted that bats can be infected with rabies.
Saxton said the Humane Society is now raising funds for a new permanent wildlife center that will enable larger animal rescue efforts. The nonprofit is currently located in a strip center leased space on Hammerley Boulevard.
Those seeking assistance can donate to the Jeanie Gresco Memorial Architecture Fund, which was launched in honor of her many years of volunteering. Gresko’s husband Mark set up a fund with her $100,000 donation, and if the nonprofit can raise her $100,000 by August, an additional $100,000 of her She agreed to match the donation, Saxton said.
New facilities to be located will include dedicated batroom facilities and other accommodations to accommodate specific types of wildlife, Saxton said.
“Each wildlife in Houston has different needs,” she said. “This building allows us to serve the needs of every living thing that comes our way. It means that we are doing our best.”
The new building will also feature dedicated classrooms for educational purposes where nonprofits can host scout groups, homeowners associations, summer camps, among other classes.
Meanwhile, members of the Humane Society will be at the Reeves Art Gallery at 2415 Taft Street in Houston on January 6 from 5:30-7:30 pm and January 7 from 11-2 pm. will be Conservation presentation on January 7 at 1:00 pm.