ARLINGTON — After an unusual case of animal cruelty, a $1,000 reward is being offered for anyone with information on the inhumane treatment of a bat discovered Tuesday at Sunset Park in Lake Stevens.
The adult, male bat was found hanging from fishing line, which had been tied to a rock and lodged in a dock. A fishing hook had been intentionally embedded into his cheek.
The bat was treated at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington, before being transferred to specialists at Happy Valley Bats in Stanwood. There, his condition continues to improve and rehabilitators are hoping for the best.
Suzanne West, executive director at Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, said she’s never seen anything like this before.
“We cannot allow our society to turn a blind eye to that,” she said. “Just because (the bat) is going to potentially survive doesn’t mean it’s not a crime.”
The circumstances surrounding the incident led Sarvey Wildlife Care Center to offer the reward, in hopes that it would lead to the successful prosecution of the perpetrator.
This is only the third time Sarvey Wildlife Care Center has offered a reward, and the first time it has offered one for crimes against a bat.
Bats are fundamental to the ecosystem, said Barbara Ogaard, a wildlife rehabilitator and director with Sarvey Wildlife Care Center.
Ogaard, who studied zoology at the University of Washington, has spent decades helping bats and debunking stereotypes about them. She advocates for the winged mammals through presentations at public events, and has earned the nickname Bat Lady.
At least 14 species of bats live in Washington. All are insectivores. In one night, a single bat can eat an estimated 1,000 bugs.
“It is one of those things that you don’t miss it until it is gone,” Ogaard said.