Deforestation in Western Ghats pulling bats towards extinction says researchers

Several bat species residing in India’s Western Ghats are finding it tough to adjust with varying landscape resulting due to deforestation. The increased use of agricultural land and growing human population are the other factors behind this change.

To evaluate the impact of plantation and rainforest fragmentation on bat species, an expert team of researchers from University of Leeds in Britain, Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysore and National Centre for Biological Sciences surveyed different bats species in the southern Western Ghats.

The study that was published in the Biological Conservation revealed that some bat species can adjust with coffee plantations. At a time, when several bats species can move towards extinction, the only hope comes from the revelation that wildlife-friendly agriculture and remaining part of forests can work as a lifeline for this diminishing species.

Professor, John Altringham, Leeds University stated that the Western Ghats comes in the list of most biodiverse regions across the world. At the same time, the region is densely populated with all biodiversity areas.

The modern development and land-use transformation have left just 6% of the total original habitat in the biodiverse region.

One of the researchers stated that although bats have survival tactics to deal with the changing landscape, further rampant deforestation can be a serious threat to the survival of bat species.

The expert team applied Geographic Information System (GIS) computer modeling to evaluate the association between different bat species.

After a thorough research, they stated that if bats are to survive in the Western Ghats, a cautious use of land is necessary. Shade-grown coffee and Remnant forest patches serve as shelter for wildlife, which to some extent, uses tea plantations areas.

Karnataka is a habitat to a large percentage of bat species in India. These species are steadily moving towards extinction due to rampant deforestation in the Western Ghats.

The recent research data comes as a warning to the government. They should note that the extinction of any species on the planet tends to have cascading consequences on others and even can destroy the fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats.

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