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'Bats' movie unrealistic

By Cody Wienk
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
October 27, 1999
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To the editor,

As you have probably heard, a movie called "Bats" was recently released in theaters. This fictional movie depicts large, demon-like bats attacking people. As a member of Bat Conservation International , I would like to take this opportunity to clear up some misconceptions about bats.

By portraying bats as aggressive killers, the advertisements for the film only reinforces negative perceptions and popular myths. Yet, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. I'd like to remind all readers that bats are highly beneficial both ecologically and economically if simply left alone! Because of centuries of myth and superstition, bats are also among the world's least appreciated and most endangered animals.

Here are some other interesting bat facts:

Bats aren't blind, they're not rodents, and they won't get tangled in your hair. The truth is that bats are among the most gentle, beneficial and necessary animals on earth.

As primary predators of insects that fly at night, they are essential to the balance of nature and consume enormous quantities of pests that cost farmers and foresters billions of dollars annually. Bats are also key pollinators and seed-dispersers of plants and shrubs throughout the tropical regions of the world.

Like most mammals, an occasional bat may contract rabies, but even those that do are typically non-aggressive, biting only in self-defense if handled.

If you decide to go see "Bats," don't let it add to any fears or misconceptions you have about bats. Please help place fears in perspective this Halloween by raising awareness about bat benefits. This will help to reduce the likelihood of needless eradication campaigns sparked by "Bats."

To learn more about bats, contact BCI, a non-confrontational, nonprofit organization that works to protect bats and their habitats worldwide.

For more information: http://www.batcon.org

Cody Wienk

RNR studies graduate

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