Austin/ Weather & Environment
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Published on February 20, 2024
Austin Nonprofit to the Rescue, Bats Saved from Adhesive Bird Repellent's Sticky GripSource: Unsplash / Nils Bouillard

An Austin nonprofit, the Austin Bat Refuge, has come to the aid of several local bats that have fallen victim to a sticky situation, quite literally. The bats were rendered immobile after coming into contact with a bird-repellent gel applied outside a local business. According to KXAN, the refuge's team, upon discovery, found the bats struggling on the sidewalk, their wings rendered useless by the adhesive substance.

Lee Mackenzie said, "The bat’s wings were basically stuck to his body, so that when he tried to fly off, he fell to the ground." The organization has stepped in to rescue a total of four bats over a span of four days. These creatures found covered in the gel were not just impaired, but their very lives hung in balance. In an interview with FOX 7 Austin, Dianne Odegard, the executive director of the nonprofit, underscored the gravity of the situation, noting that the repellent gel was applied in spaces frequented by bats, prompting this unintended consequence.

The process of rescuing these bats involved the use of corn oil to loosen the adhesive's grip followed by a wash with Dawn dish soap to clean off the residue, as per the KXAN report. The bats are now recuperating and undergoing test flights to determine if they can rejoin their natural habitat and survive post-rescue.

Mackenzie and Odegard are raising awareness about the dangers of using adhesive bird repellents like the gel coating that incapacitated the bats. "If they're not brought to us, they will die. It's a slow, horrible death," Mackenzie told FOX 7 Austin. They have also made a plea to the public for the use of safe alternatives that do not pose a risk to bats or birds. The nonprofit advises against touching any wildlife and recommends using leather gloves or boxing them safely until professional help arrives.

The public is encouraged to notify the Austin Bat Refuge if they encounter a bat in distress by calling (512) 799-8847 or (512) 695-4116. Contributions to the nonprofit's rescue efforts can also be made online to support their ongoing work to protect these vital members of the local ecosystem.

Austin-Weather & Environment