05 Oct 2021
There is growing appreciation of the importance and benefits of sharing urban spaces with wildlife; the more we embrace nature around us, the more species can survive, and the more opportunities we have to see them and benefit from the ecosystem services they provide.
At Sydney Olympic Park, the Authority manages 430 hectares of parklands in close proximity to the town centre and sports venues; this closeness facilitates nature engagement and education, however, wildlife can sometimes become trapped in urban structures.
Ecology staff have rescued ducklings that had fallen into stormwater drains, and reptiles trapped in in-ground irrigation valve boxes. We have also called in wildlife rescuers to rescue flying-foxes from barbed wire fences.
Recently, an eagle-eyed Venues staff found a very small furry animal clinging to a light fitting in the Quaycentre reception foyer. This little creature is a Lesser Long-eared Bat, so named because its ears, at around 25mm, can be half as long as its 50mm body.
Lesser Long-eared Bats are widespread across Australia, highly adaptable to a variety of habitats from deserts to alpine woodlands. They are hunters of insects near the ground, and are known to be one of the slowest flying bats when foraging.
However, they make it up with high manoeuvrability, able to change directions mid-flight to catch flying insects such as moths, or drop vertically down to snatch crickets or spiders off the ground or leaves. It is not known how this bat entered the building, but once inside, the nocturnal creature could not leave during the day, even though it was not far from the entrance.
The rescue of bat species is a job for highly trained wildlife rescuers that have up-to-date vaccination to avoid contracting the potentially lethal Australian Bat Lyssavirus. An experienced WIRES wildlife rescuer known to the Authority was able attend quickly, and removed the little bat – a male with a small hole in the wing – into safekeeping. We hope it will recover quickly and be returned to the Park for release in a suitable habitat area.
You can help by keeping an eye out for wildlife friends in unusual places, seek advice from local wildlife rescue groups (for example, baby birds on ground may not need rescue as the parents are often nearby), and arrange for a rescue when necessary. Like our Venues staff, you may just save a life!
A Lesser Long-eared Bat’s ear can be half the length of its body © Marg Turton
|The Quaycentre foyer – spot the microbat! © Roxie Leu||Microbat clinging to light fixture in Quaycentre © Roxie Leu|