Eight-year-old Teyahlee Fletcher has become a flying fox carer.
Eight-year-old Teyahlee Fletcher has become a flying fox carer. Contributed

'If I don't love and care for the bats who will?'

MOST eight-year-olds despise needles, let alone choose to have four, but for young Teyahlee Fletcher, these injections are an important step in making her a recognised flying fox carer and local hero.

To give sick flying foxes a chance at survival, the Wildlife Carers Network applied for a 2019 Fitzroy Basin Association's (FBA) Community Grant.

Recently, along the Capricorn Coast, flying fox numbers have declined rapidly.

What's worse is that there are only two carers in the region equipped with the knowledge to provide adequate care.

FBA's Engagement Manager Rebecca French said the Wildlife Carers Network demonstrated passion and determination to improve the health and reputation of the local bat population.

After receiving a $3180 grant, the network was quick to act.

A two-day workshop in Yeppoon attracted a huge crowd of locals and enticed 11 new carers. The new group included eight-year-old Teyahlee and her mum Teneille Fletcher.




Teneille and Teyahlee Fletcher with Michelle Kracz.
BAT LOVE: Teneille and Teyahlee Fletcher with Michelle and Cheryl Kratz. Contributed

The duo has bravely rolled up their sleeves, and despite being terrified of needles, have received four injections to become inoculated.

Once winter is here, the Fletcher home will be opened to all baby bats in need of care.

"Caring for a baby bat is a feeling like no other," Teneille said.

Their huge eyes stare right into yours and their tiny ears move as you speak to them.

"When I was a child my family cared for flying foxes and it ignited a life-long love for bats in me," she said.

"I see that same passion in my daughter Teyahlee who is completely absorbed by them."


Michelle Kracz and Teyahlee Fletcher holding a flying fox.
Michelle Kracz and Teyahlee Fletcher. Contributed


When asked why she is giving up her free time to care for flying foxes, Teyahlee answered: "If I don't love and care for bats who will?"

"Bats are really important for our environment and if we don't have them spreading pollen and seeds, we wouldn't have lots of important trees and animals - like koalas."

The Fletchers are lucky enough to have local bat guru Michelle Kratz as their mentor.

Michelle is the only carer in Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast with a rehabilitation flight cage.

This means that she has the weight and responsibility of caring for thousands of adult bats resting on her shoulders.

Both Teyahlee and Teneille aspire to help shoulder this responsibility and be as knowledgeable as Michelle in a few years' time.

So much so, they are looking for a new house with a big enough backyard to hold a 11mx3m flight cage.