Thousands of Endangered Fruit Bats Were Gunned Down in Lebanon

fruit bats, endangered species, Lebanon, cave, wildlife, animal cruelty, animal conservationThousands of fruit bats in Lebanon were sprayed with shotgun and AK-47 bullets over the weekend.

Thousands of fruit bats could have used Batman’s help last weekend when one or more unidentified assailants unleashed a spray of shotgun and AK-47 shells inside a cave in northern Lebanon. This senseless massacre wiped out at least 5,000 of these highly endangered flying mammals who populated the largest colony in the Middle East. Animal Encounter founder Dr. Mounir Abi-Said told The Daily Star that the bats didn’t die right away and that they probably crawled to shelter.

A cave full of bullets

Also a professor at the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese University, Dr. Abi-Said went to the cave in the Akkar region to conduct his weekly check up. He has been doing this since 2007. But when he arrived, he found the cave full of bullet holes, and fig trees at the entrance that sheltered the bats from the elements and light were burned down.

Asked who would want to kill bats in this way, he said that some people have a groundless fear of being attacked even though not a single bat species in Lebanon would, and none of the 20 native species carry rabies.

Fruit bats and ecology

Fruit bats are crucial to Lebanon’s ecosystem since they germinate fruit trees, and their droppings, called guano, can be used as fertilizer. Otherwise known as megabats even though they are not so large, their habitat is threatened by pesticides used for agriculture and mining and tourist activity around caves which scares the animals off.

Dr. Abi-Said explained to The Daily Star that caves require more government protection and education needs to be stepped up. “We have to talk more about animals, but still keep a balance with the scientific side to things. We don’t want people to be purely sympathetic toward animals: That won’t help,” he said.

And he is definitely doing his part by running the Animals Encounter education center in Aley, where he shares his knowledge about many of Lebanon’s native and threatened species.

Crimes against nature

Although crimes against nature are relatively common in the Middle East, we have seen progress recently. Ajman in the Gulf has completely banned the ownership of wild animals in people’s homes and the Green Sheikh has come out openly in favor of protecting animal rights.

These are baby steps but in the meantime, I hope batman finds the fools who destroyed the bats in Lebanon.

:: The Daily Star

image via clconroy, Morguefile

More Weird Animal Stories From the Middle East:

7 of the Saddest Wildlife Stories from the Middle East

Dubai Marine Life at Risk After Devastating Catch

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9 thoughts on “Thousands of Endangered Fruit Bats Were Gunned Down in Lebanon”

  1. Dan Orenge says:

    . . . and after their heads are ‘offed’, they can serve as soccer balls !

    Would the inspiration for this comment possibly relate to Thomas Mack Wilhoite HS ?

  2. Just when the news around the world for bats seem grim, we have mankind acting this senselessly. Sad story, good reporting.

  3. Maurice says:

    The ones that do this don’t realize the ecological value of the bats to the environment. But for years, Lebanon has been a country where all animals are fair game.

  4. Sharon Warner says:

    I say ‘off with their heads’ if they ever find the pieces of shit that did this horrendous thing. Fruitbats are the most gentle and intelligent creatures. When people don’t have anything to eat due to the ignorance of morons like this, I hope they have a slow painful death at the hands of the ‘hungry’ people. I’m ashamed to be part of the human race… prayers for these dear, precious bats.

  5. Linda pappagallo says:

    Extremely sad news

  6. Ecoleb says:

    Until when these idiots trigger happy senseless brainless people will go on doing these stupid things? Can this be brought out higher levels in the country of WWF? Or better do u know someone who can back at these retards

    1. Ecoleb – thanks for your comment. We have sent this news nugget to some bat conservationists in the west and I hope they will shine some light on this crazy massacre.

  7. Stupid crimes.. Would like to know the educational context of those killers (psychological manipulation or oppression)

  8. Hala says:

    Not the first time that trigger-happy ex-militia men abuse animals. These and the complacent profiteers in government would have been long replaced by more of the reformist if it wasn’t for the west supporting what’s left a Banana Republic in Lebanon. Thank you, west, really.

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