Detroit Zoo Takes in Animals from Defunct Bat Zone

Detroit Zoo Takes in Animals from Defunct Bat Zone

(Detroit Zoo, Feb. 28, 2018)

Royal Oak, Pontiac, MI – The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is providing sanctuary to 61 animals in need of rescue after the sudden closure of Bat Zone in Pontiac.

Fifty-four bats of three species – straw-colored fruit bats, short-tailed fruit bats and Jamaican fruit bats – as well as five southern flying squirrels, a Linnea’s two-toed sloth and a Cranwell’s horned frog are being moved to DZS facilities in the coming days.

“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.

The DZS has been working closely with other accredited institutions around the country to assist the Organization for Bat Conservation (which operated Bat Zone until its closure this week) to find appropriate homes for more than 200 animals. Habitats are being prepared at the Detroit Zoo to accommodate many of the animals. The animals will be under quarantine for at least 30 days before moving to mostly behind-the-scenes areas of the Zoo. The DZS is helping with placement of many of the other animals in Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredited zoos and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries accredited sanctuaries.

The Detroit Zoological Society has a long history of providing sanctuary to exotic animals in need of rescue from private owners, pseudo-sanctuaries, roadside zoos and circuses. Past rescues include more than 1,000 exotic animals confiscated by authorities from an animal wholesaler in Texas, a polar bear from a tropical circus, lions found in abandoned urban homes and lions held in a junkyard in Kansas.

The rescue and care of these animals is being supported by the DZS Kalter/Lezotte Fund for Wildlife Rescue, which was established to facilitate the rescue of animals with the intent to provide sanctuary at the Detroit Zoo. The public can contribute to the fund by sending a check, made payable to the Detroit Zoological Society, to the Fund for Wildlife Rescue, 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48067, or by calling (248) 336-5704.

The Detroit Zoological Society – a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center.  In recognition of its environmental leadership, the DZS received the top Green Award from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and was named Best-Managed Nonprofit by Crain’s Detroit Business.  With an annual regional economic impact of more than $100 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.5 million visitors annually.  Its 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats are home to 2,000 animals representing 230 species.  The Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit.  It provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community.  For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit

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