1 Tahrcountry Musings: International Year of the Bats

Saturday, October 09, 2010

International Year of the Bats

Bats, the worlds only flying mammals are one of the planet’s most misunderstood and persecuted mammals. Around half of to the world’s 1100 bat species are currently at risk.

Bats save the farming industry millions of dollars each year. They also play a key part in sustaining the world’s forests. Bats provide ecological benefits such as pest control and seed dispersal. Bat populations in large urban areas can consume up to 30,000 pounds of insects in a single night.  An estimated 134 plants that yield products used by humans are partially or entirely dependent on bats for seed dispersal or pollination. Environmental experts say bats as indicators of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems

Most people are unaware that bats provide invaluable services to the environment. Bat populations have declined alarmingly in recent decades. Despite intensified conservation efforts, over half of all bats species are now classified by the International Union for Conservation as threatened or near threatened.

The recently launched, UNEP-backed ‘Year of the Bat’ will promote conservation, research and education on bats. The Year of the Bat in 2011 will coincide with the United Nations’ International Year of Forests. The Year of the Bat will encourage people across the world to get involved in bat conservation efforts

Dr. Merlin Tuttle, a leading ecologist and wildlife photographer and founder of Bat Conservation International has been designated as the honorary ambassador for the Year of the Bat.

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