Wildwatch

Batting for Bats

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Even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the origin of the coronavirus being caused by bats is just a myth like many other things that the flying mammal is associated with.

‘Blind as a bat’ is probably the most abused phrase. Did you know that bats are not blind? Well if you did not, it’s time to take a reality check. Bats are nocturnal mammals who are unfortunately very misunderstood. They are not creepy, not blood sucking and there are no vampire bats. Even if you are bitten by a bat, you do not become a dracula. Bats do not fly into your hair or eyes nor get stuck to you. Bats in fact have extremely good vision and can fly as close to your nose tip and go back without touching you.

Kashmir Cave Bat_Rohit Chakravarty
Kashmir Cave Bat_Rohit Chakravarty

Mammalogist and Conservationist Dr Bandana Aul Arora who has decades of work experience with the Nicobar Flying Fox and other threatened species in the Nicobar group of islands ecosystem is dispelling many of these myths.

Rohit Chakravarty, PhD student, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany explains, “bats perform two main functions that benefit humans and the ecosystem. Fruit-eating and nectar-drinking bats are pollinators of many tropical trees.”

Baheerathan Murugavel, PhD student, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Thiruvananthapuram, India says, “to summarize, if we would want to prevent future pandemics, the question to be in focus is about how humans caught these viruses (routes of transmission) instead of blaming the animal origins itself.”

Read the full story in Wild Watch here:

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