World Bat day (April 17th) and National Dolphin day (April 14th)

Dolphins are a vital part of our oceans and are commonly regarded as the friendliest creatures of the ocean. They have a wide range of emotions similar to those of humans and are visually appealing and cute. To celebrate their existence in our oceans, National Dolphin Day is now observed in several countries including, USA, India, UK, Australia, etc. On this day, environmental organisations and nature interpretation centers of various wildlife parks screen documentaries on dolphins, and educate people about them. They are cetaceans (mammals which live in the sea. This group only includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and have a beak or snout shaped mouth. They mainly feed on fish. There are two types of dolphins: river dolphins (eg- gangetic river dolphin) and sea dolphins (bottlenose dolphin)

Dolphins in the wild

Bats are the only mammals that can fly. Often the centre of horror stories and haunted houses, they are considered to be vampires (creatures that drink human blood) in disguise. This is because the vampire bat does indeed drink blood of animals, but not specifically humans. World Bat Day is observed to spread awareness about bats, as many cultures cull them, considering them to be a sign of misfortune. On this day, documentaries and presentations on bats are screened by environmental organisations and nature interpretation centers of various wildlife parks. Bats are nocturnal animals, which usually can be seen hanging upside down in tall trees during the day. The tiny pipistrelle is the most common bat of Eurasia and Africa (Common Pipistrelle in Europe; Indian Pipistrelle in India and its neighbours) Their diet varies with species, some eating insects, others fruits.

Indian Pipistrelles on a fort in Jodhpur, India

Threats and Conservation

Dolphins being considered friendly are often put in aquariums. Even though it is wonderful to see it up close, the dolphin requires more space than the tiny pool it is given. Poaching, habitat loss and entangling in fishing nets are also major causes of the decline in the population of dolphins.

Bats, as mentioned above, are known to bring misfortune and due to this are sacrificed in many religious ceremonies. This belief got strengthened due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which is supposed to have originated from bats. After the pandemic, there have been reports of isolated stone-throwing incidents at bats.

Being extremely important for the health of ecosystems, the extinction of these animals could mean the collapse of an ecosystem. This is why we must improve and increase conservation efforts being aimed towards them.

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