Fruit Bat Babies Get Help


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Two-weeks-old Troy suffered heat stress. Picture by Sarah Thorpe, Landcare Australia

ABC News: A sanctuary for orphaned fruit bats on Sydney’s North Shore (Australia) has been expanded to house more pups and adult bats.

Every spring up to 100 fruit bat orphans are hand-reared by wildlife volunteers, then taken to the Kukundi shelter at Lane Cove National Park.

Their mothers can die from natural predators, flying accidents and entanglement in power lines.

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baby bats injured by electrocution (on power lines) wait for milk. Landcare Australia

“They will go to backyard fruit. And they will get tangled in backyard fruit netting. And this does terrible things to their wings so they can’t fly,” said Tierre Thorpe from wildlife carer organisation Sydney Wildlife.

“They often get caught on power lines so they get electrocuted,” she said.

The breeding season is in October when it is all hands on decks for volunteers.

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Picture by Tiere Thrope shows a baby on a mini-milk bottle. Landcare Australia.

The bats “go through a rehabilitation process in our volunteer’s homes and they come here to gain flight fitness,” she said.

“They learn to fly. They are dehumanised. And we have a hatch at the back which is opened at the time. And then we support feed them for a couple of weeks so they can come back to obtain food while they have their freedom.”

An expanded cage for orphans which was opened this week is expected to cater for 100 babies a year – alongside the 500 adults in a separate cage.

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A Twill Weave – Short Story


A Twill Weave – Short Story by JLeahy ©

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Picture by Barbara W. Beacham

Mondays Finish the Story is a weekly flash fiction by Barbara W. Beacham which runs from Monday to Sunday. This week’s prompt starts with the quote in the story below and the above picture. I hope you enjoy my take on this one. The stories have to be 100-150 words.

A Twill Weave

“What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”, someone had scrawled in bad handwriting. Humidity and stench made the cell unbearable but I wondered who the writer was. Had a moment of epiphany or remorse released those words?

Months have flown by, but I knew after the bundle was found on me, my five years of trafficking ended. The door turned.

“Mr Chris Dam –ass?” he pronounced Dameche.

“Yes”, I said relieved to get interaction after 24 long hours in the transit cell.

“Follow me,” he said with no emotion.

We walked down the hallway, opposite to where I was first led in. My heart sank.

“Where are you taking me?”

“To another cell, we have someone coming in…to use that one” he said.

At the hallway end, he unlocked a cell.

It was smaller. I looked out and through a tiny grilled window. A huntsman is putting the finishing touches on an elaborated web.

How Long Should A Good Short Story Be?


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Are Australian short story writers an endangered species?

I found this review by Geoffrey Dean, an accomplished Tasmanian (Australian) writer quite interesting especially while editing some of my short stories for competitions recently.

I enjoy writing short stories, ranging from “Mondays Finish the Story” (Barbara W. Beacham) flash fiction challenge of 100-150 words to stories I have written in 1500 to 3000 words in our Creative Writing Workshop with Isabel D’Avila Winter. In short story competitions, the limit to the number of words you are required to write can really change a story, as I have found recently while reducing one of my 1500 word short stories to 1000 words for a competition. I have felt in the past week that I probably could have spent less time and written a better story, if I wrote a completely new story. On the other hand, I found it much easier to increase the number of words of another short story from 800 words to the required number, 1000 words. The additional 00 words may have slowed the phase of the story, but it is work-in-progress.

Submitting to literary magazines also calls for a fit. You have to write to specific requirements with type and paragraphing or head-lining, but the main challenge is the number of words to fit a page or a column.  So how can you fit into the system? Can you be less descriptive or reduce the number of characters without taking from your plot or could you do without long passages of back-stories without killing the story?

In the following review, “Are Australian short story writers an endangered species?”, see how author Geoff Dean writes about his process of creating a short story and his discussions on the steps that took him to the end where the answer about short stories and their lengths are quite clear.  As Dean writes, one must always aim to write a good short story first and foremost before trying to fit the story “into the system”, i.e., the magazine page size or competition requirements…in other words, to hell with the system, I am going to write my story my way and eventually find a place for it.

“Are Australian short story writers an endangered species?”

Geoffrey Dean has published 80 short stories. The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre (TWC) in conjunction with Island Magazine and the Geoff and Elizabeth Dean Foundation have just launched the Geoffrey Dean Short Story Competition which is now open to Australian writers.

Born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1928, Geoffrey Dean (Geoff) had his first short story published in the mid-1950s. Scores of his stories have appeared in eight collections of his work (Mysteries, myths, and miracles; Under the Mountain; The Literary Lunch; Strangers Country and other stories; Cold Dean Monday and other Australian stories; Summerbird and other stories; Over the Fence; and the Hadlee Stories), as well as magazines, anthologies and collections in Australia, the UK, USA, Norway and China. He won many literary prizes and awards, including the State of Victoria Short Story Award and the Arafura Literary award. His story, The Town that Died was made into a TV drama and broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1986. Geoff died in August, 2011.

Geoff

RRP AUD22.95, or via this site for AUD$20.
Inquiries to: anne dot hugo @ gmail dot com
Roaring Forties Press,
PO Box 368 North Hobart, Tasmania 7002 Australia

The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre

 

Hearing With Your Tongue? Sounds Weird?


If the blind can read with their fingers, with braille, scientists say they can also teach the deaf to hear with their tongues.

Tongue Mapping Research at Colorado State University has found that a new device works similarly to a cochlear implant, but where an implant sends electric impulses to the auditory nerve where the brain recognizes these impulses as useful information, CSU’s device sends these impulses to a mouthpiece packed with electrodes via Bluetooth. By pressing their tongue against the mouthpiece, users can feel impulses as tingling or vibration. Researchers hope that with training the brain will be able interpret specific patterns as words, effectively turning a tongue into ears.

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