Eliminating Bats: SMF Officers To Kill 20 % of the Mammal Population

Armed with their guns, officers of the Special Mobile Force (SMF) will proceed to the elimination of bats as from this week.

bats

The authorities do not intend to step back even after ecologists warned against getting rid of bats. The former argue that they are a nuisance accounting for the decrease in fruit production while the latter describe the mammal as essential for the dissemination of a variety of fruits. Furthermore, the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation previously requested the government to review its decision, explaining that bats are responsible for only about 11 % of fruit damage instead of the higher percentages put forward in Parliament.

The Ministry of Agro-Industry will see to it that SMF officers kill 20 % of the bat population. The National Parks and Conservation Service, the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, together with veterinarians will also assist in the project that will last for 3 weeks. The authorities have already identified the habitats of the animals. They also did a counting of the bats when they got out of their homes.

L’Express.mu reports that the Fund-Raising Manager of the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, Jean Hugues Gardenne, argues that the control exercise might cause a drastic decrease in the bat population. He also describes it as “cruel” because it is being done at a time when females are carrying their young.

1 comment

  • I sympathise with farmers who believe bats are eating their fruit, but killing the creatures is unlikely to help and could have undesirable results.

    Back in the 1930s, there was a scheme to uproot mangroves in Mauritius to remove mosquito breeding grounds. However, their roots are also vital for fish breeding and prevent coastal erosion, so getting rid of mangroves caused major ecological problems.

    In the UK, the government has been shooting badgers because they are thought to spread tuberculosis to cattle. It has cost £20 million (about Rs1 billion) and hasn’t worked. Badgers eat rodents, grubs and carrion (dead meat), so they are probably useful to farmers.

    If bats are becoming a ‘nuisance’ that’s probably because so many trees have been cut down in Mauritius to make way for more and ever-bigger houses jammed close together with no room for even a bush, never mind a mango tree.

    Instead of killing bats, the government would do better to spend the money on studying them (or give money to MWF for that purpose) and working out how they interact with the environment.

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