Bats are important wildlife to their ecologic system, but they are also a zoonotic disease reservoir. Close bat–human interaction can lead to pathogen spillover. We conducted a qualitative study in two districts of Bangladesh and interviewed 30 bat hunters who hunt bats primarily for consumption, to understand the process and their reasons for hunting bats and their perceptions about bats and bat-borne disease. Most hunters catch bats during winter nights, using a net. Bat meat is used for household consumption, and the surplus is sold to cover household expenditures. They prepare the bat meat at home to sell it in their own and in neighboring communities. They also sell live bats to traditional healers. They report that the bat population has declined compared with 5 or 10 years ago, a decline they attribute to hunting and deforestation. Many have heard of a disease from bat-contaminated date palm sap but do not believe that bats can spread such disease to humans. Close bat–human interaction reported in this study pose a risk of pathogen spillover. Conservation initiatives have the potential to reduce such interaction and so both reduce disease risk and support the ecology.
- Nipah virus infection
- Qualitative research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis