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Lyssavirus in Bats: More to the Story….

Bev Brown is a volunteer wildlife carer currently with 15 orphaned or injured, recovering grey headed flying foxes in her backyard flight aviary. Bev is Wildlife Victoria’s Species Advisor on Mega Bats.

 

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According to Bev “recent news reports about the lyssavirus threat from grey headed flying foxes at the colony in Kew have generally missed some critical points”.  Bev explains that a flying fox bite is treatable with a needle in the same way a rusty nail injury isn’t fatal from tetanus. She warns that people should not approach any distressed wild animal but should call in the help of specially trained, lyssavirus vaccinated rescuers. Wildlife Victoria’s Emergency Response Service is 13 000 94535.

 

Bev would like to remind us that flying foxes are tremendously important animals for Australia.


Not only is the grey headed flying fox arguably our most intelligent native species, classified by some scientists like primates, it is also the most ecologically important. These animals keep native forests alive, spreading 60,000 native seeds per night up and down the coast. Sadly, numbers are diminishing rapidly, with less than one per cent of the population that existed a century ago. They are a threatened species and a keystone species, one on which many ecosystems depend on.

 

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Some bats do carry lyssavirus, which responds to a rabies vaccine. Trained wildlife volunteers have been routinely inoculated for years.

 

Many of people are scared of them unnecessarily. They should be a lot more scared about what the bush will become without flying foxes.