“It is simply amazing how quickly attitudes improve when people finally understand bats as they really are—sophisticated, beautiful, even cute, quite aside from their crucial roles as primary predators of insects, pollinators of flowers, and dispersers of seeds”—Merlin Tuttle in The Secret Lives of Bats
Since 1972, the Indian Wildlife Protection Act has cast fruit bats into the schedule V category. It means they are considered ‘vermin’—like crows, mice, and rats. Except for Salim Ali’s Fruit Bats, Kolar Leaf-Nosed Bats and Wroughton’s Free-Tailed Bats, the rest are unprotected. Even stranger is that the Wildlife Act still does not recognize the existence of insectivorous bats.
The only saving grace is that they are classified as ‘wild animals’, which ensures their safety in protected forest zones. Otherwise, bats have been facing the brunt of human progress—from wind power projects and electric grids to pesticide usage and urban expansion.