Activist launches Israel’s first fruit bat shelter

Tel Aviv, March 1 (IANS) An animal rights activist in Israel has launched the nation’s first fruit bat shelter out of her apartment in capital Tel Aviv, where she now hosts up to 70 wounded bats, the media reported on Tuesday.

“I decided to help the fruit bats because no one helped them and then I started and it was one bat after another. Now it’s become a big project,” said 28-year-old Nora Lifschitz.

Lifschitz recently used the online crowd funding site, Headstart, to raise money to care for the flying mammals – which typically nest in tunnels and cave-like structures – and has since raised over 60,000 Israeli shekels ($15,370) for food and medical supplies to treat injuries requiring surgery.

“It is an animal that is usually very hard to catch, so when people bring them in, most of them have a broken leg or wing and were found on the floor,” said a local photographer at the shelter.

Egyptian Fruit Bats, which are common in Israel and feed on fruits such as lychee and loquats, are generally classified as agricultural pests and are unprotected, despite their ecological value of safeguarding natural ecosystems by dispersing tree seeds and pollinating plants.

At the shelter, baby bats rescued from laboratory tests nest on a teddy bear hanging from the ceiling – a substitute for the mother bat, which normally carries her babies for a full six weeks after their birth.

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