Detroit Zoo gives sanctuary to 54 bats

The Detroit News

The Royal Oak-based Detroit Zoo has become a sanctuary for 61 animals "in need of rescue," including 54 bats, who needed new homes after the Bat Zone in Pontiac closed suddenly, the zoo announced Wednesday. 

A straw-colored fruit bat snacks on fruit. These bats can also pollinate flowers and disperse seeds through the forests.

“This is an unfortunate situation and we are doing everything we can to assist them in placing animals with facilities capable of ensuring their lifetime care, including taking in more than 60 of the animals at the Detroit Zoo,” said Dr. Randi Meyerson, deputy chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society, in the zoo's statement on the acquisitions.

In addition to the 54 bats, which consist of straw-colored fruit bats, short-tailed fruit bats and Jamaican fruit bats, the zoo is now home to five southern flying squirrels, a two-toed sloth and horned frog. 

All told there were "more than 200" animals displaced by Bat Zone's closure, the release says. The Detroit Zoo is providing homes for 61 of them and looking among accredited institutions for homes for the others.

The new arrivals will start their time in Royal Oak under a 30-day quarantine.