Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's About Time Bats Get Recognition

From the article in the Houston Chronicle:
Researcher's want to cast bats in a new light.

Embodiment of evil
From the medieval Christian artists depicting Lucifer with bat wings to pop culture portraying bats as blood-sucking villains, these mammals have become an embodiment of death and evil. The group is publishing a bilingual children's book and DVD Frankie the Free-tailed Bat, that describes a "year in a life of a Mexican free-tailed bat," to challenge the common stereotype.

"Bats are victims of superstitions and myth, they are feared and destroyed without people knowing what kind of value they provide," said Patricia Morton, a project leader with the Texas Parks and Wildlife. "This is the most important research that demonstrates the value of bats in large numbers."

The bat's reputation already has seen some changes.

The theory that massive numbers of bats migrate to Texas chasing insects first emerged in the early 1990s, when local meteorologists detected two large clouds in the areas but no storm activity.

Scientists discovered the clouds were colonies of bats eating insects, but it took them a decade to find a precise way to measure their numbers.

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