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Analysis and Comment (14)

Dogs are the source of the majority of human rabies deaths around the world. M. Lehmkuhler/Flickr

Explainer: the rabies virus

The island of Bali has pledged to be free of the rabies by 2020 and has begun culling stray dogs in an effort to control the virus. Rabies was first detected in Bali in November 2008 and has since claimed…
Cattle drovers have won back the right to graze livestock in the Australian Alps - against scientists' advice. AAP Image/Bob Richardson

Why is our wildlife in trouble? Because we’re ignoring science

From reef dredging, to shark culling, to opening old-growth forests to logging, environmental policies are leaving Australia’s wildlife exposed to threats. The reason, we propose, is that society and government…
The paradise of Lord Howe Island has a grim history of biodiversity loss. Roberta W B

Australian endangered species: Lord Howe Long-eared Bat

Some threatened species are familiar and well-known; others are obscure. The Lord Howe Long-eared Bat may be the epitome of obscure. Were it not for the fluke discovery of a singe tiny but distinctive…
This diet’s driving me batshit. dsevictoria

Do bats eat mozzies or moths? The clue is in the poo

Bats fascinate me. So, naturally, does their diet. Recent research showed that bats made “feeding buzzes” over saltmarsh habitats. These habitats are full of mosquitoes and this specific buzz is made only…
Sydneysider bats, such as this lesser long-eared bat, are susceptible to predation even when they keep on the move. Tracy Morris

Urban ecology: boring as batshit or heaven scent?

When I started my PhD to gain understanding of factors affecting the plight of bats living in our cities, I had no idea I’d be stuffing a freezer full of faeces one day. Sorry - I’m getting ahead of myself…
Heavy-handed strategies won’t reduce the risk of bat-borne diseases and will be detrimental to the environment. Flickr/mdavidford

Breaking up bat colonies doesn’t eliminate health risks

The recent tragic death of a young boy from Australian bat lyssavirus (ABL) produced a predictable chorus of calls to disperse flying fox colonies and kill flying foxes, all in the name of public health…
Catching prey such as mosquitoes would be pretty hard if you couldn’t focus your vision. Nature.com

Pitch perfect: small bats squeak higher, but not due to size

A study released today in Nature shines some light on why bats produce high frequency calls – and why some squeak far higher than others. Over the last four years I have been researching bats by monitoring…
Flying-foxes are taking refuge in populated areas, and people are deciding they don’t like them. James Reed

Culling flying-foxes is ineffective, so why suggest slaughter?

Animosity towards the grey-headed flying-fox has intensified as their contact with humans has increased. Last month, the Queensland government announced that it would issue an annual quota of 1280 permits…
People who get to know flying foxes are less likely to loathe them. michis

Conservation shouldn’t be a popularity contest

Even Australia’s most iconic, charismatic species are in danger of extinction. Species such as the cassowary, Tasmanian devil and koala all enjoy significant community support and relatively generous funding…
Fruit bats carry disease, pollen and a warning about the state of the environment. shellac/Flickr

Culling bats isn’t the way to control Hendra virus

This year has had the lot. First came the tempest, then the floods. Fires are on their way as the landscape dries out. Now we have pestilence, in the form of Hendra virus. Calls for bat culls have ensued…

Research Briefs (7)

Leave bat handling to the experts

Many people ignore public warnings not to touch bats, particularly when sick or injured, when the health risk is highest…

New mammals discovered in Congo

Four new mammal species have been discovered in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mammals were…

Malaria link to West African bats

Malaria parasites that infect West African bats are closely related to parasites which are used to model human malaria in…

Moths' sex talk

Moths can communicate about sex according to a University of Southern Denmark study. Moths have highly sensitive ears which…

Fruit bats navigate with internal maps

Egyptian fruit bats use an internal, landmark-based map to navigate their local area, a new study has found. The discovery…