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Harmful species of Bat found in Rwanda after 40years



Conservationists expressed their delights as they found a terribly harmful species of bat that was already thought to be dead as it had been out of sight for 4 decades. 

The group who discovered Hill’s Horseshoe Bat revealed that it was found clinging to life in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest, a dense rainforest that houses endangered mountain gorillas.

In 2021, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the bats as terribly dangerous species and their specific populations remained unknown.

Jon Flanders, the director for Bat Conservation International said in his statement that, “Rediscovering the lost species was incredible and it’s astonishing to think that we’re the first people to see this bat in so long.”

A Texas-based non-profit organization had partnered with the Rwanda Development Board and Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association to conduct surveys in the jungle starting in 2013.

It was gathered that scientists had found the bat in 2019 after a 10-day expedition scouring the caves in the forest, but it took them three years to confirm its species.

“We knew immediately that the bat we had captured was unusual and remarkable,” the BCI’s chief scientist, Winifred Frick, said.

“The facial features were exaggerated to the point of comical,” he added.

Bats have long been infamous as fanged monsters or vectors of disease, with the coronavirus pandemic doing little to improve that image after scientists said Covid-19 likely originated in these creatures of the night.

From the tiny two-gram “bumblebee bat”, to the giant Philippine flying fox with its 1.5-metre wide wingspan, they make up a fifth of all terrestrial mammals.

Some 40 per cent of the 1,321 species assessed on the IUCN’s Red List are now classified as endangered.

Human activities including deforestation and habitat loss were to blame as they caused many terrestrial animals to go into extinction. Reports also had it that these activities are also major causes of climate change all over the world.

The elusive discovery of the bat was said by researchers to have marked the beginning of a new race to save the once lost species from disappearing again.

Flanders emphasizes that, “now our real work begins to figure out how to protect this species long into the future.”

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