It all started with a small bat baby named Emily, found on the pavement in Beersheba.
The wonderful women who found her looked for someone who could take in a baby bat who needed intensive care around the clock, and so they happened to hear about a small apartment in the south of Tel Aviv, that takes in all sorts of animals that need help. They brought the baby there, and she got the name Emily.
Emily was on her caretaker 24/7. wherever she went - Emily went with her. And so, everywhere they went, people got to know this magical animal.
The rumor about "the safe house for bats" began to spread. It turned out many people have found bats who needed help, bat didn't know who to turn to. Also, labs that experimented on bats and petting zoos that closed down started to turn to this small apartment asking us to take in the bats. And so, soon, the apartment became a home to 90 bats, each in a different physical or mental state.
It became clear that we needed to grow fast! We had bats that were ready to go back to nature, along with bats that still needed flight training.
We decided to try our luck and started a crowd funding project. To say the truth, we didn't think we'd reach the goal, but the wonderful people along the way surprised us big time! We asked for 60,000 NIS to build a small sanctuary, and people donated with great generosity!
We started looking for a quiet place, safe from danger for the bats, and we found it! a large building, in the mountains of the Jerusalem, nature and quiet all around, not far from one of the largest bat caves in Israel. A perfect place just like the bats needed.
And then we started building the first bat sanctuary in the middle east!
The sanctuary is built in the "Soft Release" method. Each bat that arrives at the sanctuary progresses through the different areas according to their own personal pace (Studies have shown that animals that were returned back to nature in a gradual manner, have shown significantly higher chances of survival).
The nets that separate the areas are thick and elastic fabric nets, so that the bats can communicate with each other even when they are not in the same area. The nets are made out of fabric which on the one hand is thick enough to help the bats file their nails, and on the other hand soft enough so that the bats won't hurt themselves on it.
The sanctuary's areas:
The Clinic - in the clinic there are bats that need light medical care, post surgery hospitalization, medications or supervising.
(Bats that need surgeries are admitted to outpatient clinics with our wonderful veterinarians! You can find them under the label "Partners").
The Nursery - The nursery is the smallest area. To the nursery arrive orphaned bat cubs above the age of 3 months, who fell off from their mothers and need a safe place. The floor of the nursery is covered with soft synthetic grass in case of a fall, and filled with dolls, ropes and development toys. In the nursery, the cubs start to build their flight muscles and learn to eat independently, act as a group and catch on to swinging objects (like branches and fruits in nature).
* Orphaned cubs under the age of 3 months - that need feeding every 3 hours, body warmth and nurturing 24/7 - are taken care of by our amazing foster mamas! You can find them under the label "Volunteer".
Permanent Residents - In the permanent residents area you'll find the disabled bats and bats with neurologic problems who can't return to nature due to their age or condition. Unfortunately, most of the bats in the permanent residents area got to this condition because of their proximity to humans...
The floor of the area is covered with duvets, carpets, synthetic grass and soft changing mats - in order to keep the bats safe in case of a fall. In this area there are ropes hanging from wall to wall, teddy bears, soft doghouses hanging from the ceiling, large climbing surfaces so that the bats can climb and practice catching on to surfaces, and the entire ceiling is covered with shade net, in order to maximize the space, so that even bats who can't fly could hang upside down and feel like regular bats.
The permanent residents get toys and games which are replaced every week. It's especially important to us - with bats who won't be returning to nature - to add as much interest and toys as possible.
Return to Nature - The return to nature area is the biggest one. In this area there are ropes hanging from wall to wall, enrichment games, and a tunnel open 24/7 for the bats who feel secure enough to go out to nature. The floor of the area is covered with soft sand so that even if the bats fall down they won't get hurt.
The bats that arrive to the return to nature area are healthy bats, and still we see bats who choose to go out every night and then return to the sanctuary to sleep. We can also see bats who come to eat at the sanctuary from outside, and then in the morning return to their natural habitat!