Thank you for your concerns with regard to the bat we rescued from Diana Lu last week. Diana wrote a FB post with regard to this rescue and, unfortunately, it contains information which is factually incorrect and also misleading. ACRES hopes to set the record straight. Please do help us share this post.
1. The bat had severe injuries which were sustained under the care of Diana and not ACRES. Diana had kept this bat for two months and it is illegal under the Wild Animals and Birds Act to keep bats.
2. Following the rescue, the bat was sent to a veterinary clinic and received veterinary care, which has continued for the past week. The bat was not left untreated.
3. The prognosis for the bat according to the ACRES vet was that the bat will never be able to fly again and go back to the wild. Without flight, the bat will be unable to move much and unable to perform almost all its natural behaviours. Due to welfare concerns for a flightless bat in captivity, the vet made a difficult recommendation to euthanise the bat.
4. ACRES did obtain a second veterinary opinion and the prognosis for the bat according to the Singapore Zoo’s vet was: “This bat was raised by a member of public for 2 months. The bat flew into her house when it was a juvenile. The bat was fed on milk and mealworms. However, the bat was not kept in a hanging position hence did not develop muscles for it to hang properly. Last week, the bat sustained a fracture of his left wing. Upon examination of the bat, it was found that there was a compound fracture of the left humerus at the elbow joint. 1 cm length of bone was exposed. The bat was unable to extend its wing properly. Due to the fact that healing of the fracture is poor, there is a high risk of infection due to the bone being exposed for awhile and the bat will not be able to extend its wings and fly if the fracture heals, euthanasia is advised due to welfare reasons.”
5. The issue is not about cost but, unfortunately, as stated by the vets, the injuries were so severe that they were not treatable and surgery was not an option.
6. We regret that Diana misled our rescue officers. Diana informed ACRES that she had special permission from AVA to keep the bat. AVA confirmed with ACRES on Monday that they did not provide Diana with any special permission. As such, despite repeated calls from Diana requesting for us to return the bat to her, we are legally unable to return the bat to her, and we also noted that the injuries the bat sustained happened under her care and the prognosis for the bat given by the vets indicated that the bat was not well looked after by her.
7. We have been communicating with Diana over the phone and through emails to provide her with updates and share the professional opinion of the vet. We also invited her to accompany the bat on the visit to the second vet, but she informed us that she was busy.
8. Diana’s friends have been calling the ACRES hotline and we understand their concerns. However, please know that the hotline is an emergency number and answering calls related to this bat means that we are unable to answer calls for animals in need of our rescue, and time is of the essence in these cases.
9. We share Diana’s concern for bats, but we urge members of the public to not feed wild animals, handle or tame them. While the intentions might be good, keeping this bat for two months was not in the best interest of a wild bat who requires specialised care.
10. ACRES has successfully rescued and rehabilitated thousands of wild animals in Singapore, including bats, and every life is precious to us. We run a “no-kill” facility and we will never euthanise a healthy animal. It is unfortunate that, in this case, the bat had to be humanely euthanised.