Conservation plan on desk to avoid wasting bat species in Kolar caves

Until a number of years in the past, the Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat was present in solely two caves within the village of Hanumanahalli in Kolar district of Karnataka. For causes which are nonetheless unknown, the bat turned domestically extinct in one of many two caves. And now, the Karnataka Forest Division, together with the Bat Conservation India Belief, is on a conflict footing to avoid wasting the remaining bats, that are endemic to the realm, from extinction.

The Bat Conservation Society, which has been entrusted with drawing up a conservation plan, has additionally been awarded a grant to conduct additional analysis on this species of bats.

Extra Principal Chief Conservator of Forests within the Karnataka Authorities, Vijay Mohan Raj, says that it was in 2014, after a research performed by Osmania College, that the state authorities first got here to know of the bats changing into extinct in one of many caves. The federal government instantly notified the 30 acres across the caves as protected space.

“The Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat is unique to Karnataka and we’re very pleased with this truth. There was a whole lot of give attention to the conservation of bigger animals just like the tiger, however in Karnataka, we now have constantly chosen smaller, lesser-known species and made them flagship species for conservation and created consciousness round them,’’ mentioned Raj, including that with the realm being notified, any growth work right here, together with building of latest infrastructure, will want the permission of the Nationwide Board for Wildlife.

The Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat

“We all know little or no about this bat – what ecology it thrives in, what its food plan is, its behaviour and what would occur to it if the cropping sample adjustments within the space during which it resides,’’ he added.

“Bats are one of many least studied mammals within the nation, although there are 130 species in India. They’re very adaptable creatures and due to this fact can usually be discovered close to human habitation and even in city settlements, which makes them susceptible. Additionally they have a nasty picture within the public eye, as carriers of illnesses. However the reality is, bats are completely very important for the ecology as they’re pollinators, their primary food plan being nectar. The vegetation that bloom at evening are completely depending on bats and moths for pollination. Bats additionally assist in insect management and due to this fact, assist in the safety of crops,’’ mentioned Rajesh Puttaswamaiah of the Bat Conservation India Belief.

Because the Covid-19 pandemic, and the unverified affiliation with bats, there have been incidents within the Western Ghats and in states akin to Rajasthan and Odisha, the place bats have been attacked or killed.

There are 5 species of bats that stay within the caves of Hanumanahalli, of which the Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat is only one. In response to latest estimates, there are simply 150 Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bats left in these caves.

“There was little or no on-ground monitoring occurring up to now. We have now began an in depth research of those bats. Aside from the caves themselves and the close by areas, we now have to determine and preserve the bats’ foraging space. We’re working an intensive consciousness marketing campaign within the close by communities they usually have come to know the risk to the species and have began guarding this space from encroachers,’’ he provides.

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