Saturday 18 April 2020

International Bat Appreciation Day

Yesterday was International Bat Appreciation Day. 

Bats are fascinating creatures, being the only group of mammals that can truly fly. They also harbour a lot of viruses, many of which have then moved into human populations (including Ebola, Lyme disease, Rabies and corona viruses, including possibly the virus responsible for the current COVID_19 pandemic that is sweeping across the world.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about the links between bats and COVID_19, which poses a threat to bats by fuelling unfounded fear in people. However bats are not to blame for this pandemic.

Peter Daszak, President of the U.S.-based non-profit Ecohealth Alliance, says that even if bats are the origin of the cirus, they are not to blame for the pandemic. "It's not bats. It's us. It's what we do to bats that drives this pandemic risk," Daszak said. ".....We don't need to get rid of bats. We don't need to do anything with bats. We've just got to leave them alone. Let them get on, doing the good they do, flitting around at night and we will not catch their viruses" This is a quote from an excellent article on the NPR website, you can read the whole article here.

There's another good article on the Nature website here.

Science Focus states that bats pose no bigger risk than other animals in this article.

Bat Conservation Trust has prepared a comprehensive guide to COVID_19 and bats, which you can read here.

We should conserve and protect bats and their habitats, not demonise them.


An excellent book to read about diseases that originated in animals and then transferred to humans is David Quammen's Spillover, which I reviewed here.


A Cuban In London said...

Thanks for such valuable information. You're right. There's a lot of misinformation about bats and panic doesn't help.

Greetings from London.

Magyar said...

Nature still survives; the sun gifts another day.

moon fly bats
in each blackfilled night
mosquitos harvest


Jeff said...

I do appreciate bats, but I'll have to share a bat-crazy story from Nevada. In 1988, I moved to a small town in Nevada (Virginia City) to be a student pastor of a small church for a year. It was a great experience, but at first I was wondering what I was doing there. It seemed like all kinds of weird things were happening the first month of so I was in the state including a report about some folks in another small town (maybe Austin) who were drinking in a bar one night and somehow managed to knock down a bat. They proceeded to stuff the bat into a pitcher of beer and then drink it (I can't imagine ever being that drunk). The bartender was somewhat sober and realized it could be a problem. He saved the bat and had it tested and it was rabid. The folks all had to have the shots!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks Cuban

Magyar - thanks for the 'ku!

Jeff, wow what a story. Just shows we really shouldn't mess with wildlife.