TOLGA BAT HOSPITAL
Focus: Conservation and Education.
Tolga Bat Hospital works for the conservation of bats and their habitat.
- the rescue, rehabilitation and release of hundreds of bats each year
- the provision of lifetime sanctuary for many bats that are too injured to return to the wild or have been retired from zoos
- education about bats through schools and the onsite Visitor Centre
- habitat restoration work at 2 colonies, Tolga Scrub and Lakeside
- facilitating research into bats
- advocating for bats
- providing a rich volunteering experience at the hospital
We are a not-for-profit community group, a Landcare group and a registered charity that aims to improve the public's perception and understanding of bats. The group takes its name from the nearby Tolga Scrub, a fragment of critically endangered Mabi rainforest that is home to up to a million fruit bats at some times of the year.
Costs & Benefits
Volunteers must be vaccinated for rabies to handle the bats, and provide proof of vaccination status before they arrive. Volunteers are needed all year round but especially during tick paralysis season, when hundreds of adults and orphans come into care. It is very busy October to February, particularly November to January. We usually need 4 - 8 full time people, as well as our dedicated group of local part-time volunteers.
Our Visitor Centre is open daily and we appreciate volunteers with an interest in environmental education.
We prefer a minimum stay of one month in busy season, and one week the rest of the year. Experienced flying fox carers can be an exception to this rule.
Work at the hospital in tick season is varied. Typically volunteers will help prepare large amounts of food for the adults and orphans; feed/clean/weigh/measure the orphans, clean the cages, handle large amounts of bat and human laundry, assist in trips to the rainforest to search or release (depending on season); and help with miscellaneous projects around the hospital. We buy fruit in bulk (apples1000kg and bananas 350kgs) and these need to be unloaded into boxes for storage in fridge or food safe. We make large amounts of banana smoothie on particular days, and this is then stored in the freezer and brought out as required. Caring for sick or young animals is like caring for sick or young humans, many tasks are very repetitive but your love and respect for the animals will make it very rewarding.
Tolga Bat Hospital Facilities and Expectations
Rabies Vaccination: Volunteers need to be vaccinated for rabies. This is a series of 3 intramuscular injections of 1ml given over 3-4 weeks. The course must be completed before getting to the bat hospital. Rabies is extremely rare in Spectacled flying foxes. However it is a condition of our permit to make sure all volunteers who handle the bats are vaccinated. You must be able to provide us with a copy of the vaccination certificate or recent blood titre test results before you arrive. We do take unvaccinated volunteers but they do not handle the bats.
Working Hours: During tick paralysis season, volunteers typically work 7 days per week for an average of about 10 -15 hours per day. November is always the busiest month as we can have up to 200 babies being hand-fed 4 times a day. Volunteers unable to commit to this pace are encouraged to live offsite and roster on as it suits. Every effort is made to give long-stay volunteers a break for a few days during the season.
Outside of tick season the atmosphere is far more flexible, and days off for excursions or a break can be easily accommodated.
Meals: We eat very well at the Bat Hospital and can cater for vegetarians and vegans. We have a delicious healthy meal at night but everyone caters for themselves during the day. All volunteers are expected to help with preparing and cleaning up for evening meals. We discuess with each volunteer when they arrive what they would like for breakfast and lunch, and provide the makings but everyone prepares (and cleans up) their own food during the day. Alcohol is tolerated at the hospital but its consumption must be in moderation. Smoking must be away from the house.
Costs: For the first full month all volunteers contribute AUD$50 per day to assist with accommodation, meals, laundry and Internet access. It does not cover alcohol or snacks or special diet food. If staying for less than one month, this fee is higher but varies with length of stay. After one month, the daily rate reduces further. After 2 months the rate is negotaible. Volunteers wanting to undertake research projects need to negotiate a rate as there will be demands on the coordinator's time. We offer a truly unique experience for bat enthusiasts in beautiful surroundings and excellent facilities.
|Length of Stay (weeks)
Daily Rate $
Everyone pays a minimum of $50 a day for the first 4 weeks, then the daily rate reduces further
Volunteers need to pay a non-refundable deposit of $350 when their application is accepted. We use the first week as a trial period and reserve the right to terminate your volunteering if necessary. This is a clause in our contract with you to allow for the very occasional volunteer (only 2 in the 10 year history of the project) with whom there are too many difficulties. Please go to the Donate button on our home page to make the payment, using Paypal or credit card. Our bank deatils are there too if you'd prefer to do a bank transfer, a good option if you have an Aussie bank account.
Accommodation: Volunteers are accommodated in several ways. The two-room self-contained apartment is the central base. It contains a separate bedroom with 2-3 single beds; a living area with TV etc; compact kitchen, bathroom, and verandah area. The apartment provides well above the usual standard of volunteer accommodation. We also have some large confortable gazebo tents that offer more private accommodation, and a single room in an attached building. There is power to the tents but all bathroom facilities are up at the main house.
We always have to factor in accommodation when we take volunteer bookings. Please let us know if your dates of volunteering need to change as soon as possible.
Communications: We have wireless internet. Volunteers are encourageed to bring their own computers/tablets /smartphones etc. There is no mobile phone reception here but volunteers can put their phones into the car that goes to town every day to pick up messages, or get a lift into town.
Volunteers must be vaccinated for rabies to handle the bats, and provide proof of vaccination status before they arrive.
Volunteers aged 21 years old and over with the ability to work in teams for long hours. Experience with bats not necessary, though experience with wildlife, veterinary or zoo work is a plus. Cooks and Vets welcome.
Tolga Bat Rescue & Research Inc
PO Box 685 Atherton
Tel: +61 (7) 4091 2683
Location:Atherton - Australia
Average cost per day: AUD$5
Focus: Conservation and Education
Skills needed: Volunteers must be at least 12 years old and must be vaccinated for rabies to handle the bats, and provide proof of vaccination status before they arrive.