Wildlife conservation: Karnataka formulating plan for endemic species Kolar bats, details

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December 30, 2020 4:40 PM

After the species became locally extinct from one of the caves, the Karnataka Forest Department has swung in action along with the Bat Conservation India Trust to conserve the remaining bats in the area.

Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bats come under the classification of endemic or virgin species which mean that the species is only found exclusively in this region. (Credit: The Indian Express)

Good step for wildlife conservation in Kolar district! In a significant development in the field of wildlife conservation, the state government of Karnataka is in the works of formulating a conservation plan for the Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bats found in the caves of Kolar district of Karnataka. The rare species, which were found only inside the two caves of the Hanumanahalli village of Kolar district for several years, suddenly disappeared from one of the two caves, the Indian Express reported.

After the species became locally extinct from one of the caves, the Karnataka Forest Department has swung in action along with the Bat Conservation India Trust to conserve the remaining bats in the area. Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bats come under the classification of endemic or virgin species which mean that the species is only found exclusively in this region.

In addition to handing over the conservation programme to The Bat Conservation Society, a research grant has also been issued in the name of the society to undertake research in the field of bat species. Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Karnataka government Vijay Mohan Raj told the Indian Express that the government came to know about the species’ local extinction from one of the two waves way back in the year 2014 in a study conducted by the Osmania university. The state government had subsequently notified the 30 km area around the caves as a protected area.

Raj further said that the state government is proud of the fact that the species are exclusively found in the state. He also added that the government had consistently directed its efforts to conserve lesser known endemic species found in the state and raised awareness about the issue. Talking about the ecosystem the Kolar bats inhabited Raj said that experts have very little information about the species’ diet, behaviour, and ecology. Raj also said that the government is also trying to understand the impact of change in crop pattern on the rare species.

Rajesh Puttaswamaiah from the Bat Conservation India Trust told the Indian Express that bats are one of the least studied species in the country despite hosting around 130 varieties of bats. Puttaswamaiah also said that the bats are very adaptable creatures and often found in the vicinity of humans and play a very vital role in the pollination process of the plants.

However, Puttaswamaiah added that the perception of bats among people as ominous disease carriers harmed the species and made them vulnerable. With many Covi-19 related studies conducted in different parts of the world linking bats with the lethal virus, many incidents of bats getting killed by people have been reported from the Western Ghats and other ecologically sensitive regions of the country, the Indian Express reported.

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