Speaking of bats, many believe these nocturnal animals carry and bring disease; but according to Maria Nicolae of Bats Queensland this is a myth.
“On the contrary”, she says, “bats are extremely useful and play an important ecological role.
Flying foxes are the long distance nocturnal pollinators of Australia’s hard wood forests and microbats keep harmful insects at bay by eating them.”
Maria, who is the Education Coordinator for Bats Queensland (and who is also a Law Professor at Bond University), will speak at Gecko Talks on February 24th at Currumbin RSL.
The bat enthusiast will shine her light on the supposed role of bats in the spread of Covid-19. “It is because different species of animals were crammed together in the wet market in Wuhan, that transmission could take place.
Although bats cannot transmit Covid-19 directly to humans, we must be mindful that habitats are shrinking, which means that species that normally would not interact in the wild are more likely to do so, thereby increasing the probability of intra species viral transmission. One more reason to give animals the space they need.”
Bats Queensland is a not-for-profit organization that helps rescue, rehabilitate and release wounded bats. The bats are generally treated at Currumbin Wildlife Hospital. After treatment they are released back into nature.
“Members of the public regularly call our 24/7 hotline if they see a bat in need”. It happens a lot that the animals are injured by coming into contact with barbed wire, inappropriate fruit netting, and dog/cat predation. Also, draughts, loss of habitat and climate change take their toll.
Although Australian bats carry no corona viruses, they do sometimes carry the lyssa virus, which is similar to rabies. That’s why we advise the public not to touch a wounded bat, but to call the hotline and let us deal with it,” Maria explains.
The number for the Bat Rescue Hotline is 0488 228 134.