To Cull, or Not To Cull, Bat is the Question
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Whether it is justified or effective to cull populations of bats, as a means for mitigating human–animal conflict or controlling disease, is an issue that has recently resurfaced with moves by the Mauritius government to cull a population of endangered Mauritius flying foxes (Pteropus niger) (IUCN 2015). Similar calls for fruit bat culls by the Australian government in response to crop damage and outbreaks of Hendra virus (Walker and Nadin 2011) underscore the urgent need for a more robust, science-based approach to guide wildlife management. Here, I review the evidence and argue that culling of bat populations is not an effective means to mitigate conflict with fruit growers, nor to reduce the likelihood of zoonotic disease risk.
Invaluable and Industrious
Bats are too often vilified and grouped by policy makers into a single biological unit. The reality is, bats are an extremely diverse group of mammals with over 1300 species, second in diversity only to rodents within the Mammalia....
KeywordsRabies Fruit Grower Zoonotic Disease Nipah Virus Marburg Virus
Generous support for this work was provided by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT project (Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-A-14-00102) and the National Institute of Allergy And Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (Award No. R01AI110964). The contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, or the National Institutes of Health.
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