Dave Pinson



I have been directly and heavily involved in the rescue, raising, rehabilitation & release of flying-foxes on the north coast of NSW since 1999. Despite this relatively brief involvement, my interest in these endearing animals goes back much further in time. Born in the UK, I migrated to this wonderful country rather a long time ago - spending many years in Adelaide and the Barossa Valley before "seeing the light", and moving to the east coast.

My fascination with animals began at a very early age - terrifying my long suffering mother; who would arrive home in trepidation from work each day to find a constant procession of small furry animals (and some with feathers, scales, spines, or more legs than she had) in temporary residence. This lifelong fascination has increased over the years, roughly it seems in direct proportion to the decreasing amount of hair cover on the top of my head. To my knowledge however, there appears to be no scientific precedent to support a correlation between these two unrelated matters. I spend a lot of time bush walking and observing wildlife, including many a happy hour sitting in a hide at the Dallis Park colony simply watching flying-foxes do what they do best - being flying-foxes. I also spend probably far too much time researching (maybe need to get out more), and my bat manual has become a repository - somewhere to collate our observation, research, and collective knowledge and information.

I met my first live flying-fox close up, at a course run by Robyn Gough & Jackie Maisey from Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers. One look into those big beautiful eyes and I was hooked. The rest as they say is history. Before I knew it there was a nice doctor sticking needles into my arm, and next I was trying to get to grips with a little bundle of joy, who I am sure had developed at least 17 extra limbs between picking it up, and trying to toilet it at home for the first time. Initiation by fire occurred one night in January 2002, when during the height of the heat wave event at Dallis Park - that saw over 1500 downed flying foxes - the lounge room was temporary home to some 22 wild orphaned babies (plus 5 regulars we were already raising) - and all of them needing milk. No sleep - ridiculous amounts of coffee - we survived, and more importantly - so did they. The speed at which Robyn, Jackie & co' placed not only these bubs, but 70 more that came in through that week, was nothing short of astonishing. Some of you reading this will have received these babies as they were placed with carers in various groups over an 800 kilometre stretch of coastline from the Gold Coast to Sydney. To those of you I have never met, I say thank you. This single act of warm spirited cooperation is what inspired me to specialize in these - our beautiful, gentle and precious night workers of the forests.