More than 150 bats killed in Rajasthan owing to fear of COVID-19 spread : The Tribune India


More than 150 bats killed in Rajasthan owing to fear of COVID-19 spread

International Union for Conservation of Nature asks to dispel myth of spread of COVID by bats

More than 150 bats killed in Rajasthan owing to fear of COVID-19 spread

The bats killed by people in Sadulpur, Rajasthan. Tribune Photo

Yash Goyal

Our Correspondent 

Jaipur, May 7

Fearing the spread of COVID-19 by bats, people in four districts of Rajasthan have been spotted killing Indian bats, affecting their breeding season and useful role in agriculture and environmental balance.

“Killing of bats by local villagers, fearing the spread of COVID-19, with the help of forest workers in Churu, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, and Nagaur districts’ old monuments and ‘havelis’ in Rajasthan, has been very frequent in the past fortnight,” Dr Dau Lal Bohra, conservationist and member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Rajasthan, said.

As many as 45 bats were killed in Sadulpur of Churu district, and over 150 in Lohargarl area of Jhunjhunu district recently, Bohra, a key researcher on bats and vultures, visiting Sambhar Lake, disclosed to The Tribune.

“There are two reasons of hunting bats — one, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the other being number of myths that bats are inauspicious in family life if seen near their domicile. Both reasons are baseless and non-scientific as bats found in India are ‘fruit bats’ and good for pest control in agriculture and environmental balance,” Dr Bohra added.

“People should shed their belief and stop killing bats as they are not a vector of SARS CoV-2 to human beings in India. If their ongoing breeding season is disturbed, fruit bats will face extinction in the north-west of Rajasthan as mostly male bats were knocked down allegedly by the people,” Bora apprehended, adding SARS-CoV-2 was carried by Horseshoe bats of Rhinolophidae family in China.

“Even the recent report from the ICMR on the discovery of coronaviruses in two species of South Asian bats poses no known health hazard. The viruses found in the study are different from SARS-CoV-2 and cannot cause COVID-19. People have misinterpreted the ICMR’s other report on bats,” he quoted.

Reverse Transmission

“As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature study, there is a chance of reverse transmission from infected human to domestic animals and even to bats. In a severe community spread conditions of COVID-19, like in Maharashtra and Gujarat, there might be a possibility of reverse transmission if this deadly virus is mixed in to sewage, ponds, water body and any other waste material. No country is aware of this warning, but it should be dealt carefully by government agencies. This may be more disastrous after lifting of the lockdown in hotspot cities in the country,” Bohra warned.

“To protect bats during the COVID-19 pandemic, earlier the Karnataka government and now the Rajasthan government’s Wildlife Warden has issued guidelines and warning that bats should not be hurt or killed by any means as bats fall under Schedule-V of the Indian Wildlife Act, 1972. To date, there was no provision of punishment for killing them, but now harming bats will attract a legal action against offenders in Rajasthan,” the Chief Wildlife Warden, Arindam Tomar, said in his order issued on Wednesday.

Reacting on the government’s intervention, Bohra hailed saying ‘better late than never’. Now, the Wildlife Department would depute its guards and other officials to prevent the alleged hunting of bats for betterment of their growth and natural way of pest control management, leading to balanced ecosystem.

Tribune Shorts

Top News

Amritpal’s uncle, driver surrender in Jalandhar: Police

Hunt on for Amritpal Singh; his uncle, driver surrender in Jalandhar

The hunt for Amritpal enters the third day on Monday as the ...

Punjab further extends suspension of Internet services in state till March 21 noon

Punjab extends suspension of mobile internet services till Tuesday noon

Internet services were suspended in the state on March 18 fo...

Amritpal narrowly escapes minutes before police nab his driver from his hideout

Amritpal escapes minutes before police nab his driver

Amritpal’s driver, uncle arrested

Union Ministry of Home Affairs asks BSF, SSB to be on ‘high alert’ at borders in view of possible attempt by Amritpal to escape

Home ministry asks BSF to be on high alert in view of possible attempt by Amritpal to escape

The officials say even immigration authorities at internatio...

The rise and fall of fugitive Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh

The rise and fall of Amritpal Singh

Harnek Uppal ‘Fauji’, who heads Deep Sidhu faction of ‘Waris...


View All