The Echo
Remembering Sue Barnard

The Echo

Remembering Sue Barnard

Published on June 14, 2016

This week we honor the memory of a woman who was a fierce and passionate advocate for bats, and an early supporter of BCI (Member No. 66): Susan (Sue) M. Barnard. Sue passed away at age 80 in October of 2015, succumbing to a long battle with leukemia.

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Sue Barnard  Photo: Michael Durham 

Sue discovered her love of bats in 1982 at Zoo Atlanta, where she oversaw the entirereptile and amphibian collection, and happened to be the person who was handed a box of tiny,squirming animals found by a house painter. She was not initially charmed when they turned outto be infant Big brown bats, but took them home anyway.

She had to teach herself how to care for those baby bats, and they did not all survive; but she was becoming an authority on bat care, pioneering bat rehabilitation in the U.S. and publishing her first book on captive bat care in 1991-- to our knowledge, the first of anything like it in the world. Sue researched and wrote prolifically, always eager to share her knowledge with others. In l993 she formed Basically Bats Wildlife Conservation Society, Inc.(, a platform for helping bats and the people who study and care for them,and still operated by her daughter, Tamara Romaine, and colleagues. She published the first of her ground-breaking four-volume set, Bats in Captivity, in 2009, giving essential tools to zookeepers, rehabilitators and scientists worldwide. The final volume, addressing legislation and public education about bats, was published in 2012.

Basically Bats has regularly awarded scholarships to students doing promising batresearch, including, in recent years, those studying the terrible bat fungal disease, White-nose Syndrome.

Sue stepped forward in a time when bats were almost universally viewed as frightening and dangerous, and her unique legacy continues through the many individuals she helped to develop their own passion to care for, and about, bats.

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