The connection between bats and diseases that can harm humans has been a sensitive topic for most bat scientists and conservationists for decades. As a scientist it is not an easy discussion to have with the public, as we still know very little about the relationship between these zoonotic diseases and bats. This, coupled with the public’s inherent mistrust of bats due to engrained cultural beliefs and myths that bats are evil or dirty, makes rational discussion of this important topic all the more difficult.
This is why I applaud Minute Earth’s efforts with their new video exploring the connection between bats and disease. When they came to me a month or so ago for advice, like most bat scientists, I was at first skeptical and defensive. Many scientists in the past, including myself, have had to deal with the trap most media fall into – sensationalism and fear mongering . To finally see science communication on this topic that is not inflammatory yet does not shy away from the issues is refreshing.
Thank you Minute Earth for showing the scientific community that communication about this sensitive topic can be done in a fun and approachable way.