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Animal Rights

May 14, 2020 - Mongabay

Bats: Resistant to viruses, but not to humans

Bats: Resistant to viruses, but not to humans
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The inhabitants of Culden village in northern Peru heard that the virus that causes COVID-19, the disease wreaking havoc around the world, originated in bats. So when they discovered a colony of these flying mammals close to their village, they decided to set fire to it.

Officials of the National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) arrived at the scene before it was too late and managed to rescue almost 200 mouse-eared bats (genus Myotis). For their protection, the bats were taken to a cave far from the village. The attack took place on the third weekend of March.

The villagers targeted the bats because they had heard that the animals could transmit COVID-19, said Jessica Gálvez-Durand, director of sustainable management of wildlife heritage at SERFOR. Several days after the attack, SERFOR was forced to reintroduce one of its bat protection campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits bats provide to humans and thus attempt to prevent further violence being carried out against them.

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