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May 26, 2020

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Bats are our friends, not our enemies

Bats are not our enemies. But stricter rules and more cooperation across authorities are key to ensuring public health.

The novel coronavirus outbreak has greatly raised people’s awareness of environmental protection.

But some became so extreme and started to kill bats as the virus is believed to jump from bats to humans.

In fact, it’s senseless, Wang Fang, researcher from the Life Sciences College of Fudan University, told an online lecture held by the Shanghai Natural History Museum.

“Bats can hunt flies and mosquitoes up in the air, and they can help with the pollination of many types of fruit in the world,” Wang said.

“If they are killed. Our crops will die, and we will face mosquito crisis.”

“We can’t just recklessly make decision to kill animals that we don’t like.

“We have to figure out what roles they play in the natural world.”

Investigations in recent years show that only three types of bats are found in Shanghai.

They are common types, and belong to very different species from those living in mountains who are believed to spread the virus, Wang said.

“So, Shanghai residents don’t need to worry.”

Zhang Zhitong, Party secretary of Xincun area in Chongming, agreed.

He says it’s not a matter of killing bats.

Instead it’s a matter of protecting wildlife.

He pointed out that the current wildlife protection rules have some loopholes.

Trade on protected wildlife is banned.

But running businesses in wildlife without protected status is allowed under certain conditions.

That means not all wildlife is protected, Zhang said.

Also, there are conflicts between local governments and forestry authorities in law enforcement, he added.


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