Environment

Coimbatore’s Mango Education will host a webinar on bats

Habitat destruction and fragmentation are threatening the existence of many bat species

Habitat destruction and fragmentation are threatening the existence of many bat species   | Photo Credit: HS Manjunath

Dr Sanjay Molur Executive Director of Zoo Outreach Organisation, will share facts, bust myths and talk about how useful bats are in the ecosystem

What’s your first reaction on seeing a bat? Eight out of 10 people will scream and cower in fright. That, says Dr Sanjay Molur, Executive Director of Zoo Outreach Organisation, is mainly due to myths. “Stories that have highlighted the negative characters of bats have been passed down over generations and even in popular media. Ignorance has led to demonising them.”

Dr Sanjay Molur, Executive Director, Zoo Outreach Organisation

Dr Sanjay Molur, Executive Director, Zoo Outreach Organisation   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sanjay, who will conduct a webinar on bats for Mango Open House this week, says he got interested in bats because of two factors: “flight, which is unique among mammals. And the sheer diversity — it’s the second largest group of mammals after rodents. The more I learned about them the more interested I got in small mammals (bats, rodents, and insectivores). During one of the trade surveys I was involved in 1998, I documented bat hunting in Karnataka, which really got me thinking of how little I know of this group after I got over the shock of the hunts. This pushed my interest in knowing more.”

Bats are broadly divided into two kinds: insect eating and fruit eating. But there are also other groups such as “carnivorous bats and nectar feeding bats, which are not exclusively so, but show characteristics for specialisation.”

Sanjay recounts an unforgettable experience when “a group of three men had set up elaborate nets to catch the Indian Flying Fox. My colleague and I documented this event for over three hours and collected as much information the men were willing to share, saw how they caught the animals, and where they took them to sell for both meat and ‘medicine’.”

Bats are found in all regions of India, except in the coldest upper reaches. The more popular and easily seen bats in India are the Indian Flying Fox (biggest) and the pipistrelle (smallest) found flying around light sources in the early evening in all urban and rural areas.

In this Open House session, Sanjay will share “simple facts about bats and some personal experiences, break some myths and talk about the many useful roles in the ecosystem.” He will also talk about “what we should know about bats due to the ongoing crisis.”

The webinar will be held on April 1, from 6.45 to 8.30 pm. No entry fee but registration is mandatory. Visit https://bit.ly/MOHbats to register or contact 9952243541 for more details.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 1:08:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/learn-all-about-bats-in-this-webinar-conducted-by-dr-sanjay-molur-and-organised-by-coimbatore-based-mano-education/article31205215.ece

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