We have spent a lot of money on infrastructure during 2003 - 5, and now have world class facilities for the bats. Once we have met the costs of minor building modifications associated with opening the bat hospital to the public in 2006, we will mainly need to meet those costs listed below.
The annual cost of running the hospital is made up of:
- Fruit about $5000
Apples are the main fruit we feed to the bats. We buy them directly from an apple grower inland from Brisbane, about 2000kms away. This is the closest apple growing area to us unfortunately and so freight costs are significant. Nevertheless we currently pay about 80c a kg for refrigerated apples landed in Atherton, a very good price for good quality apples from a reliable supplier all year round. We usually buy them in 180kg bins, and occasionally 360kg bins. We use about 180 kgs a week for 6 months of the year, and 100 kgs a week for the other 6 months.
we can buy directly from a banana grower about 20kms away. We buy them green and by the trailer load, about 350kgs for $20, loaded on the trailer. This is an excellent price and allows us to control the ripening process. All commercial bananas are picked green, and then ripened with gas. Our bananas are seconds or rejects. They are too big, or too small, or double etc but the fruit is fine. We can control the ripening process by spraying as many as we want each week with Etherel. The bananas ripen in about 5 - 7 days depending on how hot the weather is. Like the apples, we use about 180 kgs a week, mainly in banana smoothie, for the busy 6 months, and 100 kgs a week in the rest of the year.
Watermelon, papaw, rockmelon, mangos etc We buy these in a less organised way, looking around for good prices with wholesalers, local farmers and fruiterers
|Photo Pru Harvey: fruit
|| Photo Jenny Maclean: juice
- Milk Powders about $2000
Milk powders including Wombaroo high protein supplement are used not only with the orphans, but in the banana smoothies for the adults all year round. They are essential to maintaining healthy captive animals who are otherwise on a relatively restricted diet compared to their wild diet. This section also inlcudes glucodin for the infant milk.
- 100% fruit juice $750
The best price is usually obtained by waiting for the preferred juice to come on special at the local supermarkets. We buy about $250 worth at a time. The flying foxes and tube-nosed fruit bat prefer mango and apple juice.
- Veterinary and pharmacy costs $4000
Our veterinarian costs are minimal because we have excellent support from our local veterinarians Kay Eccleshare and Wendy Bergen from Tableland Veterinary Clinic. These costs are mainly associated with buying medical supplies, consumables during surgery, some xrays etc
- Tick anti-toxin $800 - $1000
Tick anti-toxin (TAT)is essential for treating bats with tick paralysis. It costs about $10 per bat. We assess all bats carefully so that only those with a good chance of survival are treated. It is cruel to do anything else as struggling for breath is a horrible way to die. We are usually donated some TAT each year by our local vets as well.
- Microchips $3000
We have been microchipping all Spectacled flying foxes released to the wild for the last 4 years. We buy bulk non-sterile chips with 999 or 965 numbers. We buy sterile chips as well already implanted in a syringe, but are able to then re-load the syringe and re-use it about 6 times. This means we pay about $6 per chip instead of $10-12.
- Vehicle $4000
We need to travel about 25000 kms a year with the Toyota Yaris and $5000 a year with the Nissan Patrol 4WD.
- Telephone $2000
This includes internet costs for the hospital and volunteers.
- Mealworms for the microbats $550
- Insurance $1200
As a Landcare group we have free public liability, professional indemnity, and personal accident insurance cover.
- Electricity / gas $1800
- Volunteer food $8800
- Accountant / audit $2500
- General purchases $3000
These are costs associated with postage, computer, batteries, food containers and bottles, heat pads, tissues, hardware for minor building, stationaery, waste disposal, memberships/subscriptions, library etc
Grants and donations will always be sought to meet these costs, as well as those associated with our research, education, advocacy and habitat restoration work. We would also like to derive enough of a living wage from these combined projects for our full-time coordinator. Finally we would like to have sufficient income to defray some of the volunteering costs. It is hoped that opening the bat hospital to the public will provide a reasonable income through donations, entry fees, and merchandise sales.