Bats are said to have been living in the Indian village of Royandapuram, in the Tamil Nadu state, for centuries. Despite being the prime suspects for the initial transmission of coronavirus, villagers are protecting and praising the presence of the hundreds of bats occupying the trees.
On Tuesday, the villagers revealed that they don't allow anyone to hurt the bats in any way, in contrast to reports suggesting the forcible removal of bats and destruction of bat habitats. In addition, firecrackers have been banned during the Hindu festival of Deepavali.
«The entire village is considering the bats as our gods,» said Sundarraj, a local, who praised a «happy» cohabitation with the winged mammals.
Local resident Ajithkumar said, «My father and my grandfather told me that these bats are living in this village for more than 150 years. I have been seeing this sight since my childhood. Our village never faced any problem due to this. Some are falsely claiming corona is spreading due to these bats, but we don't believe that and no one has been infected in our village.»
Another villager, Haridas, explained, «They will stay in the trees during the day and leave the trees in search of food in the evening at around 7 p.m., then return to the trees in the morning by 3 a.m. We are facing no difficulties due to the presence of these bats and we are considering the bats also like our villagers.»
«Chances are very weak that corona will spread through the bats and we are not scared or worried about this,» he added.