Fruit bats delight in the conservancy

GAINESVILLE, Fla .– The spooky season has arrived, and with it, the fall weather. What better activity to kick off the end of the year celebrations than going to a unique reserve dedicated to bats?

What would you like to know

  • Brian and Tracy Pope run the Lubee Bat Conservancy
  • They take care of over 200 different bats
  • Conservation is a world leader in the care and research of fruit bats
  • Bat Fest will be held at the facility from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 23

Bats are nothing out of the ordinary for husband and wife duo Brian and Tracy Pope, who have dedicated their lives to them. Their Lubee Bat Conservancy is a wildlife research unit that is home to a variety of different fruit bats.

“We have specialized microphones here and equipment that we place all over the state, and it’s kind of neat because we record their echolocation calls, download them to a computer, and then decrypt their calls,” Brian said. Pope.

The bat specialists first met while working in an animal care program at Disney World and have now run the facility for 13 years.

“We celebrate the bats and welcome everyone,” said Tracy Pope.

The conservatory will host its annual Bat Fest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 23. Learn more about the event or purchase tickets on the conservatory’s website.

Conservation is a world leader in the care and research of fruit bats, and the Popes are currently caring for over 200 different bats. They research and also work closely with the public to provide education and insight into the benefits of fruit bats to the planet.

It is a 24-hour job that occupies the popes.

“It’s Pitch,” Brian said, pointing to a Malaysian flying bat. “It’s the biggest flying bat in the world.”

Popes are passionate about their work and the lives of the bats they touch.

“I didn’t think much about bats before I started working with them, but now I think they’re one of the more interesting creatures,” Tracy said.

Lubee Bat Conservancy is open year round, but call ahead to schedule a visit.

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