Bat culling will lead to crop loss, says first chiropterologist in Kerala
Thrissur: The first chiropterologist (bat scientist) in Kerala Dr. Arakkal Madhavan is of the opinion that mass destruction of bats will only lead to crop loss. The 88-year-old scientist also rears bats in a cage out of curiosity at his home in Venginissery. His daughter Sreedevi’s doctorate subject also is related to bats.
“It is necessary to take preventive measures against Nipah virus. But killing all creatures is not the ultimate solution for it,” Dr. Madhavan said. Bats eat all types of pests including beetles, flies and even rats. When bats are killed, the number of insects and pests will multiply. The fruit bats also help in seed transmission.
Dr. Madhavan used to grow more than 50 bats. The research on bats started in 1964 and was finished in 2008. After retirement, he conducted a study for 3 years with the help of UGC. He was a teacher in Thrikkakkara Bharath Matha College from 1970 till his retirement in 1987.
He also served as the Dean of Marathwada University and teacher of Ahmednagar College and Nanded College. He conducted many paper presentations through his own researches. He said that bats are widely used for experiments. A research on irregular menstruation problems is being conducted using bats in China.
Dr. Madhavan also points out examples to prove the influence of bats in agriculture. Once the bats inside the famed Ajanta and Ellora caves were driven away alleging they were damaging the paintings and sculptures inside the caves. From the very next year onwards, the farmers here witnessed huge crop loss. Later, they regained cultivation by bringing back the bats, he said.