Even though bats can harbor many serious zoonotic diseases such as rabies, Ebola and SARS, veterinarian William Karesh argues bats are also valuable protectors of human health and emphasizes the need to preserve the many species of the animal. Human health could benefit as scientists work to unravel the secrets behind bats' ability to harbor deadly human disease while remaining unaffected. Bats also help protect crops by ingesting billions of insects and aiding pollination and seed dispersal, yet habitat loss and diseases such as white-nose syndrome are crippling some bat species, Dr. Karesh notes. "We have little to fear from bats but they have much to fear from us," he writes.
Published in Brief: