Recently the news media ran a story about a bat on a plane. During that story they mentioned about vampire bats and how they carry rabies and that the U.S. may be threatened by the vampire bat crossing over the border. This was in response to a recent report that a young man had recently passed away from rabies contracted by a vampire bat . The Center for disease Control (CDC) confirmed the story August 18 about a 19 year-old migrant worker who passed away from rabies that was contracted by a vampire bat bite. The media in some cases did mention that the victim was bitten in South America and that this incident happened last July.
As usual, the news media ran negative reports about bats. This one concerned the vampire bat, and it’s possible spread into the lower part of the United States and putting the public in fear. In response to these negative reports Bat Conservation International has released a press report with information that the media failed to report as I previously posted . See the response below. I have also linked to some web sites concerning bats and vampire bats.
Some Fact about bats and rabies: According to CDC less than 6% of bats have rabies.
The good things about bats out weigh the bad and with the media spending so much time on the negative things and only telling the bad thing that bats are known for they do little about promoting the good of these animals. Ask a person what they know about bats and their common response is “that they carry rabies and they are dirty.” Then ask that same person if they know that the bats are dying from White-nose Syndrome and the response is “what’s that?” When is the last time a major network has done a story on bats and WNS? Keeping the public informed is part of their public duty.
Yes ,we all know that bats can possibly carry rabies, and that the vampire bat may one day cross the border into the US, but do we know that the little brown bat may one day in our life become a thing of the past?. Or, that bats are the leading consumer of night time insects helping the local farmer by eating insects that effect their crops and saving billion of dollars in added cost.? By having bats, harmful pesticides are not needed to control these pests, making crops safer to eat.
Maybe the media can spend some time on that! Our local station, WMUR out of Manchester NH did a short story on us, (P&S Country Crafts) and on the importance of bats as you may have read about or saw. The response we had was overwhelming. Can you imagine what the response could be and the pressure that could be put on congress for research
money for White-nose Syndrome and perhaps a cure, if Good Morning America, or ABC Nightly News, or any other major network news did a story too? Right now most of the research money comes from private donations and the US Department of Fish & Wildlife.
I am sure that if Congress can find money for shrimp and tread mills at a cost of $750,000 of tax payer money they can find money to save the bats. As stated by one biologist, “the loss of the little brown bat or any other bat species could change the world as we know it”.