This announcement was passed on to me by Rob Sheppard of Nature and Photography. Bats often get a lot of unfair press while few people realize their valuable in pollination, reducing West Nile Virus and helping reduce crop-destroying food pests.
Some of you may have seen or heard of the movie Contagion, which was released Friday, September 9. This Warner Brothers film written by Steven Soderbergh is about a mysterious, fast-spreading virus that kills countless humans around the world. In the end, it is concluded that the virus was linked to bats.
Below is BCI’s official statement about Contagion.
“Although bats sometimes harbor pathogens, any risk pales in contrast to the benefits bats provide. In fact, bats hunt and reduce the number of insects carrying diseases such as West Nile Virus. And scientists recently concluded that bats save American farmers billions of dollars a year by consuming crop-destroying pests. Bats also pollinate many valuable plants and disperse seeds that help restore damaged rainforests. In North America, right now, bat populations are being decimated by their own disease, White-nose Syndrome, which does not affect humans. For centuries, bats have been threatened because of misinformation and myths. We hope this movie does not encourage such needless fears.”
Bat Conservation International is concerned that the issues raised by this film may damage the cause of bat conservation. For decades, we have worked to educate the public and to change negative perceptions about bats. We hope this movie will not undo the progress we have made.
P.S. – Since education is key to understanding the importance of bats, please consider supporting BCI’s Education Program.