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.