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In the mid-1980's, in the Atherton Tablelands of Queensland Australia, large numbers of spectacled flying foxes began dying mysteriously. It wasn't until 1990 that the cause was discovered: paralysis ticks were infecting the fruit bats, making it impossible for them to roost, and causing them to fall to the ground, often while still carrying their infants. With the aid of volunteers and foster parents, an emergency hospital was opened in response, followed in 1997 by the world-class Tolga Bat Hospital, which today rescues, rehabilitates and re-releases hundreds of bats each year.

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Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs wrapped in cloth in the nursery at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs wrapped in cloth in the nursery at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs wrapped in cloth in the nursery, with one yawning, at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs wrapped in cloth in the nursery, with one yawning, at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies swaddled up in cloth ready to sleep, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies swaddled up in cloth ready to sleep, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Mosaic floor of Tolga Bat Hospital front entrance, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2012. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Mosaic floor of Tolga Bat Hospital front entrance, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2012.
Bat Crossing sign at Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. December 2007. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Bat Crossing sign at Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. December 2007.
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) casualty of paralytic tick (Ixodes holocyclus) bite being cared for on site of colony by Jenny Mclean, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) casualty of paralytic tick (Ixodes holocyclus) bite being cared for on site of colony by Jenny Mclean, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) casualty of paralytic tick (Ixodes holocyclus) bite being cared for on site of colony by Jenny Mclean, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) casualty of paralytic tick (Ixodes holocyclus) bite being cared for on site of colony by Jenny Mclean, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) casualty of paralytic tick (Ixodes holocyclus) bite being cared for on site of colony by Jenny Mclean, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) casualty of paralytic tick (Ixodes holocyclus) bite being cared for on site of colony by Jenny Mclean, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012
Tolga Bat Hospital director Jenny Maclean rescuing, Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) caught in barbed wire fence.  Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia. April 2015. Second Place i... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Tolga Bat Hospital director Jenny Maclean rescuing, Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) caught in barbed wire fence. Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia. April 2015. Second Place i...
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) dead after getting trapped on barbed wire fence. Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia. May. Second Place in the Man and Nature portfolio category... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) dead after getting trapped on barbed wire fence. Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia. May. Second Place in the Man and Nature portfolio category...
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs are cared for and fed by volunteer wildlife carers at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia October 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs are cared for and fed by volunteer wildlife carers at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia October 2012
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs being cared for by volunteer wildlife carers at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia October 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs being cared for by volunteer wildlife carers at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia October 2012
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies hanging in their nursery at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies hanging in their nursery at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies hanging in their nursery at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies hanging in their nursery at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) casualty of paralytic tick (Ixodes holocyclus) bite being cared for by Jenny Mclean, owner and main carer at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Austr... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) casualty of paralytic tick (Ixodes holocyclus) bite being cared for by Jenny Mclean, owner and main carer at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Austr...
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies swaddled up in cloth ready to sleep, held by a voluntary wildlife carer, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies swaddled up in cloth ready to sleep, held by a voluntary wildlife carer, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies swaddled in cloth ready to sleep, held by a voluntary wildlife carer, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies swaddled in cloth ready to sleep, held by a voluntary wildlife carer, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Little red flying fox (Pteropus scapulatus) babies wrapped in blankets at Tolga Bat Hospital, Queensland, Australia. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Little red flying fox (Pteropus scapulatus) babies wrapped in blankets at Tolga Bat Hospital, Queensland, Australia.
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) baby or bub is cared for by Claudia Barton, volunteer wildlife carer at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia October 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) baby or bub is cared for by Claudia Barton, volunteer wildlife carer at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia October 2012
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) orphan baby being fed and cared for by Andrew, a volunteer biologist in Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. December 2007. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) orphan baby being fed and cared for by Andrew, a volunteer biologist in Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. December 2007.
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) paralysed after being bitten by paralytic ticks having medicine administered by owner and main carer Jenny Mclean at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensl... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) paralysed after being bitten by paralytic ticks having medicine administered by owner and main carer Jenny Mclean at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensl...
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) in aviary at feeding time, the bats are fed a variety of fruit and drink milk and water, Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 201... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) in aviary at feeding time, the bats are fed a variety of fruit and drink milk and water, Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 201...
Freckles the Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) at the Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Freckles the Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) at the Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia.
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) mother and baby, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) mother and baby, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Feeding time at the Tolga Bat Hospital aviary where the fruitbats or flying foxes are fed different fruits from bananas, apples, watermelon to milk and water. Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicil... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Feeding time at the Tolga Bat Hospital aviary where the fruitbats or flying foxes are fed different fruits from bananas, apples, watermelon to milk and water. Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicil...
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) hanging from roof of their enclosure, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) hanging from roof of their enclosure, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) hanging from roof of their enclosure, with one bat with wings outstretched, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) hanging from roof of their enclosure, with one bat with wings outstretched, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) orphan babies being cared for by Ashleigh Johnson, volunteer wildlife carer, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. December 2007. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) orphan babies being cared for by Ashleigh Johnson, volunteer wildlife carer, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. December 2007.
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) inside enclosure, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) inside enclosure, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Feeding time at the Tolga Bat Hospital aviary where the fruitbats or flying foxes are fed different fruits from bananas, apples, watermelon to milk and water. Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicil... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Feeding time at the Tolga Bat Hospital aviary where the fruitbats or flying foxes are fed different fruits from bananas, apples, watermelon to milk and water. Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicil...
Tolga Bat Hospital worker washing Spectacled flying fox baby (Pteropus conspicillatus) in a sink at the Tolga Bat Hospital, Queensland, Australia. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Tolga Bat Hospital worker washing Spectacled flying fox baby (Pteropus conspicillatus) in a sink at the Tolga Bat Hospital, Queensland, Australia.
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) baby swaddled in cloth ready to sleep, being hand fed from syringe by volunteer wildlife carer wearing a Flying Fox Friend T-shirt, Tolga Bat Hospital,... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) baby swaddled in cloth ready to sleep, being hand fed from syringe by volunteer wildlife carer wearing a Flying Fox Friend T-shirt, Tolga Bat Hospital,...
Crates for transporting Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies by plane from Brisbane. Aafter months of care they are ready to be returned to the Tolga Bat Hospital for release back to... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Crates for transporting Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies by plane from Brisbane. Aafter months of care they are ready to be returned to the Tolga Bat Hospital for release back to...
Crate of Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies just arrived by plane from Brisbane after months of care, ready to be returned to the Tolga Bat Hospital for release back to the wild, A... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Crate of Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies just arrived by plane from Brisbane after months of care, ready to be returned to the Tolga Bat Hospital for release back to the wild, A...
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) roosting, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) roosting, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) inside cage feeding on stringed apples, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) inside cage feeding on stringed apples, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) inside cage feeding on stringed apples, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) inside cage feeding on stringed apples, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) inside cage feeding on stringed apples, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) inside cage feeding on stringed apples, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs being cared for by Louise O'Brien, wildlife carer volunteer at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs being cared for by Louise O'Brien, wildlife carer volunteer at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs being cared for by Louise O'Brien, wildlife carer volunteer at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) babies or bubs being cared for by Louise O'Brien, wildlife carer volunteer at Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) orphans cared for in Tolga Bat Hospital, hanging on clothes dryer with liquid available, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. December 2007. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) orphans cared for in Tolga Bat Hospital, hanging on clothes dryer with liquid available, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. December 2007.
Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) killed in barbed wired fence, Queensland, Australia. December 2007. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) killed in barbed wired fence, Queensland, Australia. December 2007.
Captive Free-tail microbat (Molossidae) feeding on a mealworm, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Captive Free-tail microbat (Molossidae) feeding on a mealworm, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
Grey headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) in aviary feeding on fruit, Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012 - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Grey headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) in aviary feeding on fruit, Tolga Bat Hospital, North Queensland, Australia, November 2012
Tolga Bat Hospital volunteer handling Little red flying foxes (Pteropus scapulatus) babies wrapped in nappies cuddling a pillow and sucking on pacifier. Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton Tablelands, Queens... - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Tolga Bat Hospital volunteer handling Little red flying foxes (Pteropus scapulatus) babies wrapped in nappies cuddling a pillow and sucking on pacifier. Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton Tablelands, Queens...
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) Hospital President Jenny Maclean stretches out the wing of a bat, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) Hospital President Jenny Maclean stretches out the wing of a bat, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland. January 2008.
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) orphans  in Tolga Bat Hospital, hanging on clothes dryer with liquid available, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. December 2007. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) orphans in Tolga Bat Hospital, hanging on clothes dryer with liquid available, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. December 2007.
Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) hanging from roof of their enclosure, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008. - Jurgen Freund
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Jurgen Freund / Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) hanging from roof of their enclosure, Tolga Bat Hospital, Atherton, North Queensland, Australia. January 2008.
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