Batting for bats: Awareness programme by distributing bat printed masks

Even as the bats roosting in the trees close to the residential areas are facing the public ire following a report connecting the flying mammals with corona virus, a group of naturalists here have started working on mending man’s strained association with the bats.

After a recent research publication from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) concluded that Bat coronavirus (BtCoV) are found in the common Indian Flying Fox (Pteropusgiganteus) and Fulvous Fruit Bat (Rousettus leschenaultii), the public’s ire turned towards these flying mammals. In some places, their roosting came under attack by the locals.

However, less than 5% of the screened samples contained this coronavirus, as the study mentions, it is very distantly-related to SARS-CoV-2 and hence cannot cause COVID-19, the naturalists argue.

“Due to misreporting of the study findings people have got panicked and started driving away the bats living close to their houses,” says Mathivanan, Coordinator, Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre.

He argues that bats were providing enormous ‘eco system services’ such as pollination, seed dispersal and pest control. “Trees like Illupai (Mahua), Naval (Jamun) and Ficus sps., available in the landscape are dispersed by bats. The insect eating bats are controlling nocturnal pests in agriculture and consume large number of mosquitoes. Driving away the bats from the landscape will severely affect the crop production. The people should come forward to conserve the bats in their vicinity,” he says.

To create awareness among the public, ATREE’s Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC), Manimutharu, Nellai Nature Club, Tirunelveli and Muthamil Public School, Munneerpallam jointly organized an awareness programme here on Wednesday by distributing bat images and conservation messages printed on face masks to Mela Veeraragavapuram and C.N.Village, Kurrukuthurai, all near Tirunelveli Junction where thousands of bats used to roost in ‘marutham’ trees in these areas close to the Tamirabharani.

Tirunelveli Corporation Commissioner G. Kannan distributed face masks to the residents of these areas in the presence of Amaravel Babu, chairman, Muthamil Public School, Hari Prathan, secretary, Nellai Nature Club and Jason Presley Raj, vice-president, Nellai Nature Club, who also distributed masks to the people.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 11:29:27 AM |

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