Why Bats are important?
- Bats are really good pest exterminators.
- Bats pollinate our food crops.
- Bats are gardeners of the forest.
- Bats are earth health indicators.
- Bat diversity assessment.
- Habitat study and conservation.
- Bat call data library.
- Community awareness program.
Bats are a crucial component of India’s biodiversity and play key ecosystem roles as seed dispersers, pollinators, and pest controllers. Despite the occurrence of >120 species, bats are, in general, less studied than other mammals in India. Information for many species is based only on museum or literature references, with few recent population or distributional studies.
Also, their role in the local ecology and as ecosystem service providers is poorly understood, resulting in vermin status for most species as per Indian law. Bats are generally considered as a source of infectious diseases, being carriers of several novel viruses such as Nipah, Malsoor virus, and novel adenovirus among others. This has resulted in negative perceptions about all bats in general, and conservation action is hampered. This is especially true for biodiversity hotspots, where threats to biodiversity are largely due to human activities.
Several previous studies revealed a high level of bat diversity in the Konkan region. Still, the Bats are under threat. Habitat destruction, an increase in human interference, and the use of pesticides are the main factors making bats disappear.
SNM is conducting Bat assessment, roosting site documentation, and Bat call recording to create a baseline database that will be useful to make a long-term strategy to save the only flying mammal.
SNM has recently accomplished a project named "Assessment & Conservation of Chiroptera (Bats) in the Tillari Bioregion, a threatened wildlife corridor in the northern Western Ghats, India." which was supported by The Rufford Foundation. Under the leadership of Mr. Rahul Prabhukhanolkar, SNM conducted assessment and conservation activities in the Tillari Bioregion. In the project, all important roosting sites and habitat types were surveyed multiple times, and so far, we have recorded 17 species if bats in the region. Capacity-building programmes were held for students, local researchers, and forest officials. We have created a good database of acoustic calls of all the insectivorous bats recorded during the assessment. We are currently analyzing the data.
We are trying to create a bond between the community and the Bats through community awareness programs, School programs, Bat friendly livelihood options etc; Our plan is to implement the bat conservation work in the entire Konkan region and create a community-supported conservation movement.
How to help Bats?
- Stop or at least reduce use of pesticides, they are killing bats.
- Don’t kill bats when they enter your house. Open the windows and they’ll go.
- Be responsible when you are near bat roosting site. Don’t ignite fire, don’t make loud noise and don’t try to go near Bats.
- Go Batting….! We need more people who study Bats.
Kindly reach us in case you have any information regarding caves or Bat roosting sites. We must protect the world’s only flying mammal.