• Member Since 2nd Aug, 2014
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AJ Aficionado

The Guy who wrote "Dibs on My Sister". Editor for Clopficsinthecomments and Prereader for Firesight. I love Bat Ponies. Eeee!

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Flying Fox (bat) Educational Blog (long) and a word on Movie Night being Updated Within a Week. · 4:16am Jan 18th, 2019

I was going to update Foolers Rush In when I realized that basically everything involving the forest was written wrong and I'd need to rewrite a significant portion of the story to make it better. What's wrong with it, you may ask? The forest itself is... kinda boring. Yeah, the Highborne thestrals are all well and good and Juniper is kind of a mustache-twirler but she does her job. She's serviceable. What I really can't stand though is how empty and useless the forest is. After talking things over with Firesight he agreed with my concerns about the forest and agreed with my assessment that the forest itself should contain some life: Animals, noise, atmosphere.

Due to the tragic amount of work, this is going to call for on top of all the work I've already done, I picked up Movie Night hoping to finish it off and finally call it done before bashing my head against the wall on FRI further. To that end, I've written the fifth chapter of Movie Night and it's awaiting prereads from my editors. It's part 1 of a 2 part chapter because the damn thing just wouldn't end. I introduced three new characters to the story, a human OC, and Twinkleshine and Linky who you know from A Gentleman's Price — the story Movie Night is a sequel to. Our human friend is a retcon added to the modified TSoP (I never did get past chapter 1, sigh) who came to Equestria from Australia.

And speaking of Australia, I've become particularly interested of late in one of the native animals from the Land Down Under. While scrolling through videos on Youtube I came across several channels about Australia's threatened Flying Fox species and their story really gripped me. Ninja edit: Firesight did indeed send me the first video of a flying-fox and got me into them. A link to the original video and Megabattie's channel can be found here. I also recommend donating to this channel as the woman who runs it constantly updates her channel daily with new content and serves as proof that your donation is going directly to making lives better for bats.

The Flying Foxes for those not in the know are multiple species of Old World Fruit Bats (meaning native to the South Pacific which was cut off from the rest of the world by the Ice Age, hence "old"). Evolved from other tropical fruit bats, they feast on nectar, fruit, and occasionally leaves and even tree bark — the latter provides protein from the bugs living inside. They're a megabat species, meaning they lost the ability to echolocate at some point during their evolution, meaning their ears are much more normal-looking and they don't have those weird-looking pits in their face they use to channel the sound. In fact, they rather look like flying dogs.

At this point you're probably thinking, goddamn that is the cutest thing I've ever seen! I know I did. Unfortunately this species as well as the Spectacled Flying Fox are both threatened with extinction and in all honesty both probably endangered by any practical standard. The other two species, the Black and Little Red Flying Foxes are also threatened as their numbers decline year after year. Why aren't these bats under some form of preservation? A few reasons come to mind.

Australians hate the bats... a lot: Australia is an awful place filled with things that want to kill you. Only a shred of it is useable land and water is scarce over much of it. Global Warming (climate change) has only exacerbated the problem. Australians put up water collection devices on their roofs to collect what water they can to make life easier on themselves. Nearby bats who roost in the trees poop and pee at will and a lot of that excrement goes into the Aussies' water they're collecting. Because the government has labeled the bats a disease risk — less than 1% may carry Australian Bat Lyssavirus — they fear water contamination from blood, feces, and urine. Neither of these things is actually a threat to infection, only a scratch or bite will leave humans at risk and basic filtering is enough to ensure safe water. However, due to the Lying Press average, Australians fear the Flying Foxes to such a degree they chop down trees that could serve as roost sites and even shoot them on sight! Other issues involved with Flying Fox populations include superficial damage to trees which serve as roost sites, urine, feces and fruit spats, a strong odor from the males, and the smell which comes from the dead. Heat Stress events caused by the dry winds off of Australia's central desert kill bats by the thousands, even wiping out whole colonies.

Greedy Global Financial Capitalist Interests: Yeah, yeah. Capitalism is better than everything else we've tried. Go die in a fire, commie! I hear ya. But honestly, when did the pursuit of money trump the survival of one's own environment? Flying-Foxes, as well as many other rare and precious animals living in Australia, are under imminent threat of habitat destruction and displacement due to a confluence of private and public sector abuse and neglect.

Officially, Australia is a small nation -- in terms of population, I know it's gigantic in size) with very little political power, overshadowed by its powerful ally The United States and its unfriendly neighbor China which is likely a future existential threat if they continue to build up their military. The above two factors have led the powers that be in government to ignore habitat preservation in favor if growing Australias's population. Problem is Australians don't have children. So what does Australia do? Mass importation baby! Like Australia? Hate Australia? Who cares! Just send us your technically literate and send them here yesterday! Australia needs them to bolster Australia's economy and keep them rich. Only by being rich will they maintain ties with friendly nations and give possible enemies a reason to leave them alone... or so the thinking goes.

So for the good of 'Straya, those words of warning from the 'Greenies", those damn treehuggers and their animal fetishism, are going to have to be ignored. Protections designed to help threatened bat species are loosened, by order of no less than their environmental watchdogs! Barbed wire fencing is allowed to stand around seemingly pointless structures like unused public pools to impale helpless bats. Have some fruit tree netting a bird or bat can stick their head through and end up dying a brutal, agonizing death in the blazing sun over the space of days? Fine by us! Says the government of Australia.

Of course the wealthy in Australia have an opportunity with all these immigrants coming in. Can't leave one red cent on the table or someone else will scoop up the cash! These aspiring tycoons buy up the land the Flying Foxes have been roosting on for thousands upon thousands of years before European colonialism and knock them down. They build apartments, they build hotels, they build condominiums. They knock down trees used by inactive and even active colonies; trees used by pregnant mothers to raise their families. And each day more and more habitat is destroyed, especially in the Southeast where the one part of Australia that isn't ****ing terrible and the worst is being built up by new housing. Australia is wiping out their future for the sake of the present.

Desperate for anywhere to live some have taken to living in the cities to try to scrape by on the fruit and nectar trees where they get struck by cars, tangled up in unsafe netting, and impaled by barbed wire which Australians have a fetish for that beggars belief. They put this crap around everything: schools, office buildings, playgrounds! Yes, playgrounds! They get stuck on fishhooks in the water, electrocuted on power lines, suffer brain damage colliding into objects in the dark... and die... and get trapped in areas they can't navigate either by climbing to someplace they can launch off of or gain altitude by steering such as inside an enclosed lightwell within an architectural feature like hospitals and the like.

Australia is an open-air death camp for these poor creatures.

Bats are evil and stuff!: Humans just don't understand bats. Leftover medieval prejudice of blood-sucking vampiric evil leaves uneducated Australians with an overall negative impression of bats compounded by media gaslighting about bats being a health risk. Some of these soulless bastards even claim the bat population is increasing, leading to local level governments beset by citizen demands to drive the bats away. Demands they are more than happy to oblige.

So... why should I care? : Flying Foxes are the South Pacific's most reliable pollinators and seed-dispersers. They devour fruit and nectar, fly around, and poop and pee everywhere, spreading seeds both far and wide, as Fluttershy so eloquently put it. They are the legacy of millions of years of evolution and the lifeblood of Australia's forests. They are the sole pollinator of the Gum Tree. In other words, if they're lost humans will have to pollinate these trees BY HAND like they do in certain parts of China. Can you imagine thousands of Australians going around painting the trees and flowers with pollen to get them to grow? Lastly, they are just the most beautiful animals I've ever seen. They're docile, fascinating, empathetic, curious little flapping critters that have an inherent right to exist.

Assuming I care, what do I do?

If you live in Australia (I'm looking at you, Phucknuckle) take down any fruit tree netting you can poke a finger through and spend a bit more cash on the good stuff. Fruit tree netting is the most agonizing way a fruit bat can die. Please don't be responsible for this.

You can also educate others about bats. A grass-roots education campaign can help swap public opinion and get stuff done. It's worked in villages in Africa and even restored Flying Fox populations living there!

Take down any barbed wire you don't need or at the very least remove the top strand. Removing the top cuts down on 80% of bat entrapments.

For the love of Christ, stop shooting them! They aren't going to give you cancer-AIDS or ebola or turn you into vampires! Their immune systems are hyper-advanced disease-seeking missiles that target infectious agents and destroy them actively, making them extremely healthy. They evolved this system being surrounded by malaria and other awful things. They aren't making you sick, you're getting sick by pushing into areas containing malaria and crap. You have it the wrong way around. Less than 1% of bats get Lyssavirus and even those seclude themselves from the colony and die alone after a very short time span. They don't go full aggro and start biting people. Australia requires any bat that bites you to be euthanized and tested because only euthanasia will allow testers to get at the brain matter needed to perform the test.

Donate to people trying to help the bats. There are people all over Australia picking them out of gutters and reviving them. There are even a few hospitals where the bats are sent to be released directly back into colonies: Shoalhaven Bat Clinic and Tolga Bat Hospital come to mind. Australians get the option of writing this off on their taxes. "Seppos" like me get the pleasure of knowing we did something to help those who can't help themselves.

Microbats who also face dangers and are in decline, on the whole, are also very useful to humanity, eating up nasty bugs. They too need our help.

For all of you guys out there, Australian or otherwise, any bat found outside of their colony after dark is in mortal peril. Call a rescuer near you by going to the Batworld Website Click Me Please I'm a Link. If you want the tldr from me, cover it with a towel or shirt to keep it warm — babies lose heat fast without fur in key places — isolate the bat with a laundry basket or such so it can't crawl away, and do everything the rescuer tells you to do in the meantime. If you live in Australia and the bat accidentally bites or scratches you it will be euthanized, KILLED, and sent in for testing. Your being nice could be a death sentence if you are stupid. A grounded bat is most often injured and should it escape will only die later.

I personally donate to WIRES via Tolga Bat Hospital to a nice woman named Meg who has a Youtube Channel called "Megabattie". She'll tell you all the same sorts of stuff I did and show you what she does with the money by being an absolute G-Unit, rescuing bats from all over Sydney, climbing ladders, hefting loads, and bringing the grim and gritty dark sarcasm you can only get from people who've been EMT's and nurses for long periods of time. She's awesome and she does all of this work volunteer and well into her 60's. You can donate to her directly to her from the Tolga Bat Hospitals donations tab.

That was a long-winded post but I feel it was necessary to get the word out. There are a lot of animals that need our help and I appreciate any help you do for any animal in need. But if you're waiting for that special animal to invest money into, I recommend the Australian Flying Fox.

Cheers to all of you who've seen this blog through to the end. I will get you this clopfiction within a week at most. I promise.

Comments ( 3 )

The Megabattie channel:


And I think this all started when I sent you that one video on a bat getting petted:

I created a monster! :rainbowlaugh: I didn’t realize it at the time it aired, but the MLP Flutterbat episode actually gives a very good overview and approximation of fruit bats; their life and roles in the ecosystem. It also made clear the issues regarding them where AJ hates them for raiding her trees and damaging her fruit, while Fluttershy counters with the critical role they play. All this--over time--eventually snowballed and now exerts an enormous influence on our stories--thestrals have a critical role in my Firefly works while you came up with the idea of the Highborne and the backstory of the thestral races which I thought was good enough to (very shamelessly) raid myself and use in Nightmare Night. The Nightborne/HIghborne rivalry will also factor into Firefly eventually as well.

I like to donate to causes I deem worthy, and these guys qualify. They do good work and the videos they produce are extremely compelling. Considering doing so yourselves.

That was indeed the video that did it. I'm going to ninja-edit this into the blog. You did indeed create a monster, though World of Warcraft helped a lot too!

I love how the grey-headed flying fox second to the left is doing the Doge Face meme.


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