Legal Policy Advocacy
Only two out of the 126 species of bats in India enjoy legal protection under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Out of these two one is the Wroughton's free- tailed bat (Otomops wroughtonii) an insectivores bat and the other is Salim Ali's fruit bat (Latidens salimalii). Most of the remaining fruit bats are categorized as “Vermin’s” under Schedule V of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Which not only means that they do not have any legal protection, but are categorized as “pests” which aides their destruction.
While some fruit bats do raid orchards and damage fruits affecting the total produce of farmer, the damage caused by this is negligible considering the role they play in the ecosystem by acting as vital seed dispersers.
This legal policy needs to change and there is a strong need to educate our policy makers on the importance of these amazing flying mammals and include all bat species under protection status.
Bat Conservation India has assumed primary responsibility to drive this campaign for removal of fruit bats from the “Vermin” list. To succeed in this we need support from every quarter to make this a success. Any recommendations to change such laws require substantive documentation and sustained efforts. The proposal should have strong backing of positive scientific reports, wider public interest and no negative impact to the broader community, especially the agricultural sector.
Following are the initiatives being undertaken towards this objective;
- Conducting extensive surveys to identify and assess the impact of fruit bats on orchards.
- Secure scientific reports about contribution of bats to ecology from scientists.
- Carryout a broad signature campaign to garner support from the general public. (Campaign process will start in a few months, stay tuned)
- Produce a short documentary encompassing the above information to tell a compelling visual story.
If you would like to support this initiative and be part of this change do get in touch with us and let us know how you can contribute.