Initially, bats were believed to be the origin of COVID-19. However, this was followed by requests from many people for killing or removal of bats from their localities. To set this right, a group of conservationists and scientists from across South Asia has formed a collective to debunk myths.
In a seven point press release, this group argues that the exact origin of the global pandemic is not yet known, and that the disease was caused by reckless destruction of the environment, human induced climate change, increase in usage of resources, and sale of exotic meats such as in the wet markets of China. Read our article on the left to find out more about these wet markets.
A research conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research has also found that bat coronaviruses, found in 2 species of Indian bats is not a SARS virus and thus they think that the pandemic cannot have originated from bats.They have also confirmed that the virus cannot originate from bat poop
“Human activities and encroaching upon wildlife habitats puts us at risk of encountering new viruses. These viruses may come from any wildlife species and not necessarily just bats. Thus, we need to modify human practices to prevent the emergence of new pathogens.”, said Dr. Arinjay Banerjee, who studies bat viruses and is a part of the team that isolate the virus, in the press release.
This is the press release created by the team of conservationists and scientists:
The misunderstanding of the origin of the virus was caused by oversimplification of scientific facts and data. In reality, bats are helpful creatures that are vital to the survival of ecosystems. They are important pollinators, predators, and prey.
Bat conservation should be our top priority in these times.