A Conservation Plan for Kolar Bats

In News

The Karnataka Forest Department is pushing for a conservation plan to save a bat species found only in the Kolar region of Karnataka from getting extinct.

In-Detail

  • The Kolar Leaf-nosed bat is found only in two caves of the Hanumanahalli village in Kolar District of Karnataka.
  • For some unknown reasons, bats in one cave have gone locally extinct.
  • Now, the KArnataka Forest Department and Bat Conservation India Trust (BCIT) are working on a conservation plan on a war footing to save the bat species from getting extinct.
  • BCIT is drawing up the conservation plan and a grant has been awarded to conduct research on the bat species.
  • The funding has been provided by the Habitats Trust.
  • The State Government came to know about the extinction of the bats in one cave when a research was conducted by Osmania University in 2014.
  • Then, the government had immediately notified the 30 acres around the caves as a protected area.
  • Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat is an endemic species.
  • Very little is known about the species – its diet, ecology, behaviour, and what would be the impact on the bats if the cropping pattern changes in the region.
  • In India, there are 130 species of bats, yet we know little about these mammals.
  • Bats are very adaptable creatures. Hence they are not shy of living close to human habitations with many are found even in urban settlements, which makes them vulnerable.
  • Due to some recent incidents, bats have gained a bad reputation as carriers of diseases.
  • But, bats are absolutely crucial for the ecology as they are pollinators, their main diet being nectar.
  • Plants that bloom at night are predominantly dependent on bats and moths for pollination.
  • Bats also act as protectors of crops as they help in insect control.
  • In the caves of Hanumanahalli, there are three to five species of bats of which leaf-nosed is one.
  • As per current estimates, there are only 150 Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bats left in the caves.
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