Born June 2015 near the San Gabriel River, Gabe was just a pup when he somehow managed to escape from a predator and was found by 5 year-old Hope in a pasture near her house.
Who knew, that in the ensuing two years, he would bring so much joy to so many people, serving as the best ever ambassador for his species. He charmed every single person who ever glanced his way, and those of us who cared for him felt so lucky to have shared a loving bond with this proud and charismatic little dude. He only had one wing but didn’t care, he loved his job, giving thousands of people insight into the lives of leaf bats everywhere.
Gabe passed 31 Aug 2017, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. We escaped property damage from Harvey, but what a blow it was to lose our beloved Gabe a few days later. In the midst of all this tragedy, a piece of our hearts has forever been lost from our corner of the world. Love you so much bud.
Surely, wherever he is now, he has both his wings and playmates to join him in shredding the night skies.
Bats have hard lives in the best of circumstances, and we recognize the cycle of life regarding wildlife mortality (and natural disasters) as the way of the world. So what difference does it make if one bat dies? Well, we have chosen to open our hearts to those in need. We feel that extending the circle of compassion to include all earthlings (wildlife included) helps mitigate at least some of the needless suffering in the world, and we’re doing what we can in our little corner. It’s tempting to numb the heart as a response to tragedies large and small, but we choose to feel the joy and sorrow to better do our work.
Love is a big part of the rehab process and most wild creatures respond when a tractor beam of caring is focused on them. Gabe gave us so much in return for our efforts. And even in these times of tragedy on a state-wide and global scale, we feel his loss as keenly as any in our extended family circle. We would hope his memory will serve as another hotspot of kindness, just one in a great mosaic that radiates out into the world.
Just as knowing one bat makes the experience of seeing millions fly out of a roost that much richer, knowing one bat magnifies the loss of thousands in a disaster. We also weep for the human suffering in Houston, but are thankful for the joys and sorrows of this amazing gift of life. Thanks for keeping us in the here and now, Gabe.
Here is Hope as she proudly receives our heartfelt thanks for rescuing Gabe back in October, 2015.
His left wrist was fractured and dislocated and his wing membrane torn, and he also had a hole in his furry tail membrane. His wrist injury had undergone contraction by the time he was brought to us, so any efforts to repair would have caused even more trauma and more fractures. But he was so happy to have been rescued, and he repaid us with years of joy and unbridled enthusiasm with each mealworm he consumed. He had an indomitable spirit!
Here is a radiograph of his dislocation, an injury we were unable to repair and that ultimately called for removal at the wrist.
We were in the process of creating a prosthetic for Gabe when he became ill.
A new wing was being designed, with bones 3D printed from ABS plastic, and silicone membranes were to be attached.
We were so excited about the prospect of his flying some in the aviary and it breaks our hearts that we were not able to do this for him.
We’ll never forget you Gabe