This week I saw something on Ebay that got me thinking, and the more I found out about it, the more it bothered me. With my interest in animals, somehow I had come across a dead bat for sale.. and then another, and then another.
It turns out that in places like Malaysia and Indonesia there is a growing trade in capturing live rainforest bats ‘en masse’ for killing and selling. You might think, what has this to do with frogs?, nothing I guess, but I also like bats, and have always been interested in these wonderful creatures.
In fact, if I had not specialised in frogs, bats would have been my subject. In the past I have worked with several bat researchers in the Neotropics and seen as well as photographed many fantastic rainforest species up close. When in Australia I actually stayed at a fruit bat sanctuary and helped release some of the orphans, which was so cool. I also remember on my first visit to Trinidad visiting the famous Tamana bat caves and going deep inside to discover some incredible species, before watching them all emerge in a blur of batwings into the warm tropical night – fantastic!
It turns out that literally thousands and thousands of these amazing flying mammals are being robbed from their natural habitats, including National Parks, to be sold world-wide for one reason or another. Fruit bats in particular are being sought after for selling, and some of the ways they are treated and killed really is atrocious: Bat torture. The bats are not pests, but play an extremely important role in the future of rainforests: Bats are crucial to them for many reasons
Apart from being food delicacies and aphrodisiacs, some species of bats are currently being killed especially to be sold internationally – framed or stapled-up in plastic bags and sold on the internet to buyers who really just don’t care how they got there. I emailed some sellers this week to say they should be ashamed of themselves for making money this way after knowing full well that the bat species in question were being killed especially. On one occasion I actually got a reply back saying: ‘you are right, I am sorry‘ – just goes to show..
Perhaps if more people do this we could at least put a stop to some of these creatures being killed simply to be sold on the internet. What do you think? Please let me know. or maybe them…
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