Masindi environmentalist warns against killing bats

A fruit bat

Following the residents’ complaints about the troubling effects engendered by fruit bats that invaded Southern Cell in Central Division, Masindi Municipality a month ago, the District Environment Officer, Ms Oliver Nabukenya, has called for peaceful co-existence with the mammals.

The residents complain that the bats have become a menace to them through feeding on their fruits, dropping stinking waste and noise pollution.

Some had proposed that the authorities kill the bats by spraying chemicals against them while others said that the trees which the bats have colonised should be felled to get rid of them from the area.

However, Ms Nabukenya highlights the benefits of fruit bats to both human beings and the eco-system.

She discloses that the bats like any some other living organisms protect people against catching diseases by feeding on disease-causing organisms, conserve the environment and maintain soil fertility by dispersing seed through their droppings.

The environmentalist adds that the bats also help in pollination by visiting several plants and trees looking for food.

“God created everything with benefits. The first benefit of bats is seed dispersal. After eating the seeds in that Mvule tree, they will later excrete them in another place where they will sprout and grow into trees which we cannot plant ourselves. Secondly, like bees, bats help in pollination. Bats eat many things like mangoes and insects among others. When all those combine, they form compost and promote soil fertility,” says Ms Nabukenya.

Audio: Nabukenya on bat benefits (Runyoro/Rutooro)

Ms Nabukenya says that bats play a vital role since they are among organisms that show the absence of dangerous gases in an area, thus, being valuable in research.

The environmentalist attributes the bats’ migration to their new colony to the human destruction of their habitat.

She advises the residents to always conserve the bats’ habitats so that they can benefit from the mammals saying that they can be a tourist attraction.

The bats migrated from Kirasa cell in the same Division where their former habitat was destroyed recently.

“We can decide to conserve these bats in the trees where they are to attract tourists. Scientists also have a lot to study in bats. Researchers investigate the intrinsic value God created in bats,” Ms Nabukenya explains.

Audio: Nabukenya on bat value (Runyoro/Rutooro)

Ms Katusabe warns that killing the bats will have a negative impact on human beings in the long run.

“You have to thank God when bats settle in your area. It is a sign that there is no much air pollution. If all bats die off, how can we researchers investigating areas with or without much air pollution know it? They had colonised a mango tree in Kirasa but people cut it down. Now, if you say you want to chase away the bats, are you going to cut down all the trees?  These will eventually enter your houses,” she explains.

Adding that: “We can start up a tourist attraction. So, we can decide to conserve these bats from these trees for tourists to visit this area and see them. Those on scientific study have a lot they can learn from bats.”

Audio: Nabukenya on co-existence (Runyoro/Rutooro)


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