Scientists are going bat crazy, as Hill’s horseshoe bat feared extinction is discovered in Nyungwe Forest – Reuters

Hill’s Horseshoe Bat

It was believed to be extinct, until researchers disturbed its sleep in a cave in Rwanda’s Nyungwe forest. The fight is now on to help it move forward and multiply.

According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, up to 150 species disappear every day. Extinction is a natural part of the evolutionary story of the planet. Scientists have calculated that more than 99% of the four billion species that evolved on earth are now extinct.

But since the Industrial Revolution, dating from the mid-eighteenth century, human activity has operated on the natural world at a rate of extinction that is far from natural. Human encroachment on wildlife habitats, especially deforestation, having a devastating effect on the natural world.

Until it was discovered in Nyungwe, as the forest is known locally, Hill’s horseshoe bat was feared to have suffered the fate of so many other extinct species.

In partnership with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association, the American non-profit conservation organization, Bat Conservation International (BCI), began a study of the Nyungwe forest in 2013, and during from one of the expeditions, in 2019, almost certainly uninvited, they entered the cave that Hill’s horseshoe bat had decided to call home.

Nyungwe is home to some of nature’s most spectacular creatures, including over 300 species of birds. Yet Hill’s horseshoe bat, which with its odd features is unlikely to win a beauty contest even among bats, sent scientists into unbridled glee at its sighting. As the Bible does not quite say, there is more joy for a bat whose extinction was feared than for other wonders of creation in Nyungwe Forest.

With support from Rwanda Conservancy, scientists will now embark on efforts to pull the creature back from the brink of extinction.

The bat could not have chosen a better place to try to ensure its survival. Rwanda, which is to host the first African Protected Areas Congress (ICCA) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is arguably one of the world’s greatest conservation success stories. Most famously, the country prevented the iconic mountain gorilla from joining the alarming and ever-growing list of critically endangered species.

If, with the help of the global conservation community, Rwanda can do for Hill’s horseshoe bat what it has done for the mountain gorilla, not to mention many other creatures , Nyungwe will add that it is home to one of the rarest and strangest creatures. , on his honors list.


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