Friday, November 13, 2015

Waiting Better Than Massive Bat Culling

Our flying fox had been red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because its population was expected to decline by about a third in the next twenty one years. Culling 18,000 bats is equivalent to exterminating 20% of the species -- in a few weeks -- if you think there are 90,000 of them. Additional pressure that the endemic bats might find impossible to bear. But wait. Not everybody agrees there are 90k bats: the IUCN puts the actual figure closer to 50,000. Which would mean that the operation under way will be eliminating a third of Zorro Volador Negro de Mauricio.

Projections of the IUCN may also be too optimistic as meteorological data appears to have become increasingly shaky: cyclones and hurricanes have been showing up in places great-grandmothers never thought possible. Plus we've seen several cyclones lining up in our neck of the ocean in the not-so-distant past.

The upshot of all this uncertainty is that we need to tread super cautiously. For sure there seems to be more bats now -- Mauritius has been spared by strong cyclones for several years -- but more people are netting their trees. Which should give government pause to consider other mitigating measures that have been tried elsewhere. Especially given that bats are not the only fruit predators in town. And in any case many of them will not survive a major cyclone.

14 comments:

akagugo said...

Pictures 3 and 4 here tell the story of the chain of unwanted consequences when disturbing nature's delicate equilibrium. Like our local bats - culling 18,000 of them while forgetting about the root-cause of the problem: bats are omnivorous mammals like us, and are starving from the lack of insects and fruits flowing from the clearing of near-pristine forests for the sake of devlopma.
The very best example of myopic greed of some fruit-tree owners was on display last year opposite the Phoenix cemetery - one had thought it wise to crucify some of the bats and hanging their cadavers high up in the air, as if this would be sufficient to deter them from approaching...
Next up: pesticides a-plenty for dealing with a surge in the population of insects brought about by a sudden decrease in the population of bats. Then a sudden lack of fruits from the sudden decrease in pollination of flowering trees, etc, etc...

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Indeed. I once watched a documentary where every night 20 millions bats ate something like 180 tons of insects or 9 g per bat. The spot is called Bracken Cave and I don't remember hearing people getting worried about Ebola there.

akagugo said...

Why worry about Ebola? Just let this hunter eat them all... What was funny (or pathetic) about his prose was his utter ignorance about ecosystems, his candid world-view that people younger than him, though educated, are necessarily stupid. And that only he detains the monopoly of knowledge... If I may pursue his 'super-intelligenter' logic, why not encourage the hunting down of real nuisances as well, like stray dogs and cats (they are termed as 'feral' when they start defending their territory and hunt in groups after some generations live freely without taming in some poor Eastern European countries). I hope that this cylopean way of viewing problems are isolated - identifying the root-cause of problems and tackling them in the most humane, sustainable way should remain the only viable option instead of treating everything as a nail to be hit on the head.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Hunter is back with more dangerous crap. Incidentally one of the causes of Ebola is eating bushmeat.

akagugo said...

Bats are in shortage in Indonesia too - because it's both a local delicacy and superfood...
We probably need a foreign expert to tell us how unique our local fauna is - but late Gerald Durell already did just that!

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Close to 31,000 were shot. That's 60% of the population as estimated by IUCN.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

According to some people mango production is down by about 50% this year and they are partly blaming bats. Now if between a third and two thirds of their population was culled last November how much damage can we attribute to them?

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

How do you like this analysis?

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Selective culling on the way to restore equilibrium of the ecosystem. How do you like that?

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Bann sovsuri pe rod enn zoli aktris pu pled zot ka.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

10,000 bats culled and yet small planters are still complaining that their fruit production has been severely affected by these flying foxes. So 41,000 shot over two years and we're still blaming them? What's going here, have bats increased the size of their stomachs or they're just ending a massive fasting period?

akagugo said...

Despite being heavily subsidised owners (not planters, obviously, due to their lack of involvement) of fruit trees seem to have other ideas about the nets. Pretenses abound (trees too tall / close together, nets causing damage, lack of specialised labour, etc...) to coerce authorities into action. No long term thinking, no thought about spill-over consequences, no: it's very sad to see how everyone sees the self-inflicted (don't forget that deforestation for devlopma has accelerated the shortage of food and habitat of all wildlife) problem like a another nail to be hit upon.

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Dapre MWF res zis 5,000 sovsuri vivan parla. Tiena 50,000, 31,000 fin abat an 2015, 5,000 elektrokite ek 10,000 fek abat. Dapre sif guvernman res 45,000. Ban estimasyon dega usi byen diferan ant seki Sunghoon ek Tatayah be dire: 85% letsi, 60% mang, 90% longan kont 22-24%. Bann leres manzer frwi komye dega finn fer? Martins? Pann ase analiz sa problem la (kuma enn pake problem dayer).

Mo panse nu pu dakor ki problem sovsuri finn aksantye se dernye 4-5 banane. La fot a betonaz masif ki pe derule depi 10 banane?

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Ophelia heading to the U.K. The Guardian reminds us of the devastation of the Great storm of 1987 which brought havoc not seen in several centuries. Just imagine the risk to nuclear facilities in Europe.