Do bats warrant their protection?

Published: Wednesday, 17 February 2021

BATS, a protected species, have been the detriment of many a waterway restoration.

The restoration having to be halted owing to the presence of bats, but there is now a rising feeling that these creatures that are primarily responsible for many epidemics, killing millions of people, should loose their protection.

Came from an animal

The National Library of Medicine states:

One of the conspiracy theories that have plagued attempts to keep people informed during the pandemic is the idea that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory. But the vast majority of scientists who have studied the virus agree that it evolved naturally and crossed into humans from an animal species, most likely a bat.

How exactly do we know that this virus, SARS-CoV-2, has a 'zoonotic' animal origin and not an artificial one?  The answers lie in the genetic material and evolutionary history of the virus, and understanding the ecology of the bats in question.

An estimated 60% of known infectious diseases and 75% of all new, emerging, or re-emerging diseases in humans have animal origins. SARS-CoV-2 is the newest of seven coronaviruses found in humans, all of which came from animals, either from bats, mice or domestic animals.  Bats were also the source of the viruses causing Ebola, rabies, Nipah and Hendra virus infections, Marburg virus disease, and strains of Influenza A virus.

As this is accepted, and obviously is by most scientists, does this killer still warrant its protection?