Hollywood Movie Hurt Bats?
It was reported that after filming was done for “The Expendables 2″ at an important bat habitat in Bulgaria, the number of bats there decreased significantly. Boyan Petrov from the Museum of Natural History said, “Several thousand bats are missing from the Devetashka cave since our latest count in January when the visible colonies numbered 33,800 bats.” (Source: Google News)
A bat expert said it is scientifically proven when bats are disturbed during the winter period they drop off by spring. Bats survive the winter by hibernating. If they are awakened too often their fat reserves are used up and they can die from exhaustion or starvation. Normally they sleep through the period of the coldest temperatures and absence of food sources, waking in early spring when the insects return.
Once source says the number of bats in the Devetashka cave went from 35,000 to 10,000 either from deaths or from some leaving the location. Devetashka Cave is home to two endangered bat species, and eleven other protected bats.
An official from Bat Conservation International said, “Such activity is inexcusable in a cave where bats are hibernating and significant mortality is virtually inevitable. We call on the Bulgarian government to fulfill its legal and moral obligations to the country’s wildlife. And we urge the movie’s producers and stars to support – financially – local environmentalists’ efforts to restore and protect the cave and to help these battered bats recover from the damage.” (Source: Bat Conservation)
Some people don’t like bats, but they are worth billions of dollars to agriculture because they consume enormous numbers of insect pests, and they do this at no cost to humans. They also pollinate many species of plants. Five hundred species of tropical plants are entirely or partly dependent on bats for pollination. Bananas, mangoes and guavas are just several of these hundreds of plants. Bananas are the most popular fruit for humans and their exports are worth over $5 billion per year. Therefore, we can appreciate the fact they naturally provide us with important free services.
Image Credit: Nikola.grancharov – Pubic Domain/Wiki Commons