Wee Care Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
15390 SW 269th Terrace
Homestead, Florida 33032
Mrs. Knox is the Director of the Wee Care Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. She is known throughout the State of Florida for her round-the-clock caring for injured, orphaned, and endangered animals. The following article on the Mastiff Bat appeared recently in a Wee Care Wildlife newsletter and it illustrates her extraordinary abilities and interests.
"On March 15, 1997, we received our second endangered Wagner's Mastiff Bat. It was a male weighing 28 grams. The bat was thin and dehydrated. It had flown down a chimney and was knocked to the floor by a Great Dane. The veterinarian x-rayed the bat and no fractures or torn membranes were found. Internal injuries appeared to be the problem once again. The same procedures used to rehabilitate the first bat were again used for this bat. First the bat experienced hanging, then dropping, gliding and finally flight. Progress was slow and at times it seemed it would never fly.
Mark Robson, wildlife biologist for the Florida Fresh Water Fish and Game Commission, came to assess Ferengi II's progress in late July. He felt we should try to release the bat as soon as possible. On August 4, a transmitter was placed between the bat's shoulder blades. During the night he managed to work it off. The transmitter was reattached and we proceeded with the release plan. That evening we all met at the Granada Golf Course in Coral Gables. This site was used due to its close proximity to the location where both bats had initially been found. Eight people in four cars were strategically placed in areas surrounding the golf course. At 8:15 PM we released Ferengi II!. What a sight! It circled high for three consecutive times before heading north.
Tracking the bat went perfectly. The bat was within our range al all times. We tracked it back and forth throughout the Gables, learning its flight pattern and roosting habits. Tuesday night was more of the same, allowing us to further document this important data. On Wednesday night the signal had changed, it seemed to be emitting from ground level. Ferengi II had fallen into a shallow fountain. Both the bat and the transmitter were found on the ground. Ferengi II's ears and nostrils were full of water. He was immediately returned to the Center.
By the following Monday he was ready for release. Refitted with the transmitter he was released, again he circled and headed north towards the Biltmore Hotel. He circled the tower for hours before returning to his roosting site in a nearby chimney. Tuesday night he remained in the same general area and was not very active. Wednesday morning Mark Robson called, Ferengi II was down. He had managed to get caught in an air conditioning unit between the coils and wire. The transmitter was tangled in the mesh. Ferengi II's ;thumbs were dislocated, and he was unable to climb. The veterinarian wrapped his thumbs causing great stress to the bat. He grew weaker and died early on August 17.
It is a sad ending to the successful rehabilitation of an endangered bat. As rehabilitators, we were deeply saddened by the loss. Yet, more information was collected in five days than had been collected in the past thirty years. As an experimental, scientific, research endeavor, it had a lot of merit."Back to Unusual Endangered Species
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