96 species of bats inhabit Oaxaca; keys in ecosystems

Due to its natural wealth, the state of Oaxaca is classified as one of the entities with the greatest biodiversity in Mexico, where most of the flora and fauna species that exist in the country live, which is why it is also home to 96 species of bats that have a special function for ecosystems.

According to research carried out by various local and national universities, as well as government agencies that promote care for the environment, worldwide there are around 1,116 species of bats, of these, 139 inhabit different regions of Mexico and 96 species have their habitat in Oaxaca, which makes the Oaxacan entity the most biodiverse state.

Although most of the species that have been located in Mexico fulfill an important function as natural reforesters in the jungles and forests, this by feeding on fruits and seeds, at least three species known as “vampire bats” have also been identified. They feed on the blood of other animals.

In an investigation carried out by the teacher Raúl Flores Crespo in the 80s and 90s, called “Rage in Humans transmitted by vampire bats in American countries”, he highlights that vampire bats have represented a serious health problem since the time of the Conquest public, however, for more than four decades there had been no cases in the Oaxacan entity.

The document highlights that the tropical forest regions of the countries of America constitute the natural habitat of vampire bats that have the capacity to transmit the rabies virus, in which the transmission chain involved other bats with different mammals. wild, but later with the establishment and development of livestock, the new species were introduced to the so-called jungle cycle of rabies, so it was in this cycle when the first cases of rabies affecting people, mainly muleteers or people who for various reasons had to sleep in the fields.

The first cases reported in Mexico were in 1951 in the states of Sinaloa and Jalisco. In the period 1980-1990, according to the records of the Department of Rabies Control of the General Directorate of Preventive Medicine of the Federal Government, only 10 municipalities in Jalisco registered 23 human deaths from rabies transmitted by bats.

Due to the increase in cases that came to count up to 210 the number of people bitten by vampire bats in this area of ​​Jalisco in 1990, the Ministry of Health was forced to carry out an emergency operation for anti-rabies treatment for those affected.

Other regions of Mexico where dozens of people were attacked by vampire bats in 1989-90 are the town of Tejupilco, State of Mexico, Tehuacán, State of Puebla, and Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca.

For their part, researchers María Cristina Schneider and Carlos Santos, state that blood-sucking bats, the main transmitters of rabies, exclusively inhabit the Latin American region, from northern Mexico to northern Argentina. Although non-hematophagous bats are also carriers of rabies, they transmit it to humans accidentally, non-aggressively, and to a lesser extent.

They state that in various Latin American countries the urban cycle of rabies has been controlled, in which the dog is the main transmitter; however, the number of cases of human rabies transmitted by bats has increased.

They add that most outbreaks occur in places where the population is attacked by vampire bats; Generally, these are areas that are difficult to access and lack health services, and among the factors are changes in the local production process, such as the withdrawal of animals and when clearing is carried out in jungles and forests that generates a lack of food for the animals. wild.

They highlight the importance of bats in ecosystems

96 species of bats inhabit Oaxaca; keys in ecosystems