Table of Contents
ISRN Biodiversity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 187415, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/187415
Review Article

Ecological and Economic Importance of Bats (Order Chiroptera)

Department of Zoological Sciences, Addis Ababa University, P.O. Box 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Received 5 August 2013; Accepted 2 October 2013

Academic Editors: P. K. S. Shin and P. M. Vergara

Copyright © 2013 Mohammed Kasso and Mundanthra Balakrishnan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Order Chiroptera is the second most diverse and abundant order of mammals with great physiological and ecological diversity. They play important ecological roles as prey and predator, arthropod suppression, seed dispersal, pollination, material and nutrient distribution, and recycle. They have great advantage and disadvantage in economic terms. The economic benefits obtained from bats include biological pest control, plant pollination, seed dispersal, guano mining, bush meat and medicine, aesthetic and bat watching tourism, and education and research. Even though bats are among gentle animals providing many positive ecological and economic benefits, few species have negative effects. They cause damage on human, livestock, agricultural crops, building, and infrastructure. They also cause airplane strike, disease transmission, and contamination, and bite humans during self-defense. Bat populations appear to be declining presumably in response to human induced environmental stresses like habitat destruction and fragmentation, disturbance to caves, depletion of food resources, overhunting for bush meat and persecution, increased use of pesticides, infectious disease, and wind energy turbine. As bats are among the most overlooked in spite of their economical and ecological importance, their conservation is mandatory.