While often vilified, bats actually bring many irreplaceable benefits to their ecosystems. They benefit caves by providing valuable nutrients in their guano (which is an excellent fertilizer, and is sometimes also used for crops!); they feed on huge volumes of insects each night including agricultural pests and mosquitoes; many plants rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal; bats serve as prey for falcons, hawks, owls and other predators; and study of their unique features, such as echolocation and incredible immune systems, inspire medical and technological advances that benefit humans worldwide.
WCS Health Programs' Wildlife Epidemiologist, Dr Sarah Olson studies bats, ranging from small species in the western United States, to the largest fruit bats in Africa (featured in the below picture), and she and Dr Heidi Kretser, a WCS Conservation Social Scientist, highlighted some of these many benefits in this recent Wild View Blog: Benefits of Bats
Photo credit: Dr Sarah Olson/ WCS