Melaka getting help from 'Batman' to battle bat menace


MELAKA: Melaka looks at placing derivative posters of iconic superhero Batman to warn city folk against the growing population of short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) here.

State Health and Anti-Drug Committee chairman Low Chee Leong said bats are thriving in the city and now has been considered as an urban pest.

“We are worried over the repetition of the Melaka virus, a bat-borne reovirus, that caused respiratory disease to three people here in 2006.

“So, we are getting the help of 'Batman' by placing posters to notify residents to avoid physical contact with the mammals,” he said.

Low said the bats could be seen roosting on top of trees and buildings at Ujong Pasir, Semabok, Bachang, as well as Jalan Hang Tuah.

“Our main concern is the probability of bats contaminating water tanks at residential areas, when they are quenching their thirst or cooling their temperature,” he said, adding that people should avoid eating bat bitten fruits.

Low said bats are carriers of a number of viruses like Nipah that caused dozens of deaths in 1999.

He said the state is taking measures to caution residents on the rising population, although there were no latest health cases relating to the nocturnal mammals.

Low added that bats are encroaching into urban areas as development, especially at hilly sites, are affecting their natural habitat.

He, however, said that bats are crucial for a healthy ecosystem, as they disperse seeds and help pollinate plants.
   

Across The Star Online