Roper's Story - an orphaned flying fox in Canberra - By Clare Wynter

Roper was found orphaned in early November last year in Commonwealth Park. He was approximately 3 weeks in age. He had large holes in his wing membranes, possibly after dropping off his mother as she was flying out to forage for the night. Roper's mother did not return. As an orphaned flying fox, Roper had to be fed milk 5 times a day at first. He was raised by Denise who patiently taught him to accept a bottle, treated his wing injuries and gave him the emotional nurturing care that he needed. Clare was also able to support Roper's recovery. In late January after commencing a fruit diet and being weaned he was driven to Nowra to the South Coast Wildlife rescue flying-fox creche where he joined another 26 young flying-foxes. Here he spent a further 4 months socialising and learning to fly before being successfully released into the wild with some of his peers.

Did you know: 

  • Flying-foxes feed on native blossoms and a wide variety of fruit, both native and introduced.
  • Mother grey headed flying-foxes carry their pup on their chest as they fly out to forage for food each night until they are too heavy (approx 3-4weeks). From this time the pups are able to thermoregulate their own bodies and are left in the camp at night (trees in commonwealth park in this case) whilst mum goes out to forage.. Before dawn the mothers fly back to the camp, find their pup and feed them. The pups will spend the day sleeping and feeding with mum until they grow  a bit older and then they’ll start to explore away from their mother for part to the day. At approximately 12 weeks they are beginning to fly, however they continue to stay with their mother and are not weaned until 4-6 months.
  • Orphans in care are weaned much earlier, around 11 weeks when they are beginning to fly and become more independent. A protein powder is added to the fruit they eat as a substitute for the milk they no longer receive.
  • Orphaned pups raised in Canberra are usually sent to the creche at Nowra so that they can be introduced into a larger group of similar aged juveniles. Here they learn to socialise and fly, before being released into the local flying-fox camp.  Taking our juveniles to the coastal creche, enables them to start flying and then being released in a warmer coastal climate. If they were kept in Canberra they may not be ready release and strong enough to fly the long distance to warmer areas, before the winter cold arrives.

NatureArt Lab held an online Bat Night Event in March 2022. This event raised $420.00 which has been donated to the Parkcare Veterinary Centre to cover the cost of medications need for injured flying foxes in Canberra. An additional $420.00 has been donated to the Sydney Wildlife Rescue team to help with medications for injured flying foxes in care in Sydney. 

If you would like to make a donation or for further information on ACT Wildlife please contact

If you see an injured animal please call 0432 300 033. 


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