She may not be a costumed crime-fighter, but for the animals in her home, Leslie Sturges is a superhero.
Sturges operates a wildlife rehabilitation center for bats in her northern Virginia home. As she explains in the video below from The Washington Post, bats aren't a nuisance for her. "I have a special affinity for things that other people tend to like the least," she says.
By day, Sturges, 50, is a park naturalist in Montgomery County, Maryland, the paper reports. But by night, she becomes a real-life Batwoman. In her temperature and humidity controlled basement rehabilitation center, Sturges uses a tweezers to feed the bats mealworms, and talks to them as they recover from various injuries.
In the video, she explains that she feels “a very strong need to be a voice for these animals” and “this is a way of doing it.”
Sturges is the director of Bat World NOVA, according to its website. The site also reports that she has been helping bats for nearly a decade, since attending Bat Boot Camp at Bat World Sanctuary. In the video, Sturges estimates that there are about 300 others in the U.S. who rehabilitate bats.
A deadly disease, white-nose syndrome, has killed over one million bats in the past five years, and experts predict that the current drought in Texas will have a drastic effect on local bat populations.
The UNEP announced 2011 as the Year of the Bat. To learn more about their conservation efforts, visit yearofthebat.org.