Mitigating Bat Zoonoses Threats in Ghana
In Ghana, the hunting of bats for food is known to be a main source of human-bat interaction. This behaviour poses serious threats to biodiversity and public health. Bats are considered keystone species in almost all ecosystems where they are present. For example, the Madagascan flying fox Pteropus rufus helps in the maintenance and regeneration of forests in one of the world’s priority conservation areas. Furthermore, bats are natural reservoirs of several zoonotic pathogens that causes fatal diseases to humans. For instance, E. helvum which is widely eaten in Ghana, host zoonotic pathogens including paramyxoviruses and Ebola virus. Unquestionably, strategies to monitor batmeat exploitation and potential zoonoses occurrence remains a high priority in Ghana. The focus of our work encompasses understanding the process for zoonotic transmission from bats to humans and the complex history and impacts of policy, legislation and institutional reforms to contribute to the design of systems-oriented responses that combat hunting of bats and prevent pandemics.
This project has been supported by the Rufford Foundation and British Ecological Society