A scientific expedition conducted by a team of scientists from Osmania University and Biodiversity Research and Conservation Society, Hyderabad, has rediscovered the rare, endemic Hipposiderid bat from Karnataka. At the same time, however, the team has expressed grave concern at the dwindling number of this endangered species which are redetected only in the subterranean caves of Hanumanahalli betta in Mulbagal taluk in Kolar district of Karnataka.
Bhargavi Srinivasulu, Harpreet Kaur, Tariq A. Shah, Gundena Devender and Aditya Srinivasulu are the other members of the team.
The species was first sighted almost two decades ago in the caves of Therahalli in Kolar taluk and Hanumanahalli in Mulbagal taluks.
The creature called Kolar Leaf-nosed bat (Hipposideros hypophyllus is the scientific name), has been categorized as “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
The Chiropteran (Bat) Research team led by Chelmala Srinivasulu, Assistant Professor, Wildlife Biology & Taxonomy Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University College of Science, Osmania University had ventured in to rediscover this rarest bat in the world last year and succeeded in tracing in the caves on hillocks at Hanumanahalli. However, they did not find it in Terahalli, one of the only two natural habitats of Kolar Leaf-nosed bat.
Luckily, during their expedition, the team members found Durga Das’ leaf-nosed bat (Hipposideros durgadasi) another rare species of bat, both at Therahalli and Hanumanahalli. Durga Das’ leaf-nosed bat was so far known only from three villages in Jabalpur district, Madhya Pradesh.
According to Mr. Srinivasulu, Kolar Leaf-nosed bat is unique among all leaf-nosed bats in the world. Uniqueness of this bat is that it possesses only one pair of supplementary leaflets as opposed to the other bats having two, three or none.
It was estimated that only 200 to 300 bats of this species living in the caves of hillocks in Hanumanahalli. “It’s disheartening to note that those too are on the verge of extinction due to unmindful and illegal granite quarrying in the area”, Mr. Srinivasulu, who is the former expert member of Andhra Pradesh Biodiversity Board, Government of Andhra Pradesh, said.
“Normally the bats are farmer friendly as they are nocturnal creatures. They help famers in controlling the pests and insects which are active in the night time”, Mr. Srinivasulu, recently in the town, told The Hindu . They help humans by eating mosquitoes which causes several diseases, he said.
He underlined the need to put a halt to the quarrying activities in the hillocks in order to save this rare endangered species from its extinction.
“Equal importance to be given to protect and conserve this tiny creature as in the case of tiger, elephant and other animals”, the researcher felt.
While welcoming the district administration’s assurance in taking steps to stop qurrying, Mr. Srinivasulu said a wide awakening among local people is also important in saving the rare species.
• Kolar Leaf-nosed bats were in abundant in the past only in two areas of Kolar district.
• Now they sighted only in Hanumanahlli.
• Their population now is around 200 to 300.
• The rare species was listed as endangered by IUCN.
• Quarrying harming atmosphere conducive for their living.
• Fervent appeal by the scientists to preserve the rare nocturnal creature.