Residents of a community in northern Peru attacked hundreds of bats with fire for fear of contracting the new coronavirus disease, after these animals were associated with the origin of the pandemic in China.
According to complaints from the Peruvian National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR), the residents of the town of Culden located in the province of Santa Cruz, in the Cajamarca region, set fire to between 200 and 300 copies.
The inhabitants came out in groups with torches to a nearby cave to chase the flying mammals, which fled and took refuge in the hollow walls of an empty school. It was there that their pursuers caught and burned them, the Spanish newspaper ABC reported.
The director of Sustainable Management of the Wildlife Heritage of SERFOR, Jessica Galvéz, condemned the aggression and explained that bats "are not our enemies." On the contrary, she added, 70 percent of the existing species feed on insects that are harmful to agriculture and health, as is the case with mosquitoes that transmit dengue and other diseases.
"Bats are the most numerous mammals that exist on almost every continent except Antarctica, and since all other wild species play a fundamental role in nature, they should not be used for consumption," the official said in a statement.
According to the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, the authorities managed to rescue 200 mammals that were going to be burned, which were released and placed safely in a cave.
Although viruses similar to the one caused by COVId-19 have been contracted in bats, for now scientists have not been able to confirm the exact origin of the current pandemic, which has left 24 dead and more than 950 infections in Peru since it appeared. the first positive case on March 6, according to official figures.
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