Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat | 30 Dec 2020

Why in News

The Karnataka Forest Department, along with the Bat Conservation India Trust (BCIT), is getting prepared to save the Kolar leaf-nosed bat from extinction.

  • BCIT is a non-profit organization which was conceived for the protection of bat species in India by protecting their habitat. It is headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Key Points

  • Scientific Name: Hipposideros hypophyllus
  • Geographic Range: It is endemic to India. It is presently known only from one cave in Hanumanahalli village in Kolar district, Karnataka.
  • Threats:
    • Habitat loss from land use change, hunting, and stone quarrying in the region.
    • Till several years ago, the Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bat was found in only two caves in the village of Hanumanahalli. For reasons that are still unknown, the bat became locally extinct in one of the two caves.
  • Protection Status:
  • Conservation Efforts:
    • The government had notified the 30 acres around the caves as a protected area.
    • The Bat Conservation Indian Trust has been awarded a grant to conduct further research on this species of bats.
      • It is running an intensive awareness campaign in the nearby communities and they have come to understand the threat to the species and have started guarding this area from encroachers.
  • Concerns:
    • Bats are one of the least studied mammals in the country, though there are 130 species in India.
      • Bats are vital for the ecology as they are pollinators, their main diet being nectar.
      • Bats also help in insect control and therefore, help in the protection of crops.
    • They are very adaptable creatures and therefore can often be found near human habitation or even in urban settlements, which makes them vulnerable.
    • They also have a bad image in the public eye, as carriers of diseases.
  • Suggestions:
    • There is an urgent need to curb illegal granite mining and quarrying within five to ten kilometre radius of the roost (resting-place) to ensure the quality of other subterranean caves in the area.
    • Meanwhile, widespread cave explorations and acoustic sampling are recommended to understand the distribution of the species.

Source: IE