Authorities in northern Tanzania are working on ways to get rid of the plague of bats that have invaded the tourist town of Moshi, which is close to Mount Kilimanjaro, an official said Tuesday.
Michael Mwandezi, Moshi Municipal Council Executive Director, said despite bats’ vital ecological roles of pollinating flowers and controlling pests, they have become a menace in Moshi town, which is considered the cleanest town in Tanzania.
Mwandezi said that the municipality has invited stakeholders including the College of African Wildlife Management (MWEKA) to chart ways to tackle the bats that have invaded the streets of the busy tourist town of Moshi, which hosts several cultural tourism programs operating on the lower slopes of nearby Mount Kilimanjaro.
“We tried at our own capacity to address this challenge in vain, that’s why we’ve invited experts from MWEKA College on better approaches to decimate these flying creatures,” he said in an interview following the outcry from town residents over the invasion of bats.
The affected areas include Langoni-Njoro, areas close to the Open University of Tanzania and other areas in the municipality with a population of 184,292.
“We’re doing all we can to free the town with the influx of the winged mammals, so that our people live comfortably,” the official said, adding that, bats may carry bacteria and viruses harmful to humans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bats’ droppings can contaminate soil with a fungus that causes Histoplasmosis.
Experts say bats perform vital ecological roles of pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds; many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds. Bats are also economically important, as they consume insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides.
Bats are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.