In Mexico, vampire bats pose a serious threat to the nation's cattle stock. They cause?
In Mexico, vampire bats pose a serious threat to the nation's cattle stock. They cause an estimated 250,000,000 dollars (about 90 million pounds sterling) in livestock losses each year.
At Mexico's National Institute of Livestock Research, a small group of Mexican and United States scientists are studying and attempting to control the bat which can carry rabies without being affected itself.
Vampire bats live only in Latin America, from northern Mexico to central Argentina. But scientists believe there are many more of them today than there were 450 years ago when the Spaniards began introducing cattle into the Western Hemisphere.
The small mammals daily consume two-thirds their weight in fresh blood and their easiest targets are the herds of cattle. Scientists have now begun using poison on the vampire bats. The objective of this research is not to exterminate the bat, but to control it and to drive it deeper into the jungle where it will have to feed on wild animals as it did before the time of Columbus.
SYNOPSIS: Mexico's livestock is being seriously threatened by one of the country's smallest animals--the Vampire Bat. Scientists know that the Vampire Bat can carry rabies without being affected itself. These cattle have all suffered bites during the night. Vaccinations against rabies exist, but are very expensive. Virtually without natural enemies, vampire bats cause an estimated 250 million dollars worth of livestock losses in Mexico each year, and a quarter of a billion dollars worth in Latin America.
A small group of Mexican and United States scientists are studying and attempting to control the vampire bats which are found mainly in caves. They come out only at night and only when there is no moon, so are hard to capture.
Vampire Bat waste material, the sign these scientists were looking for...the bat's grotto was overhead.
Frightened by the light, many of the bats fled and were caught in nets.
This tiny mammal daily consumes two thirds of its weight in fresh blood. Generally vampires, like other bats, avoid men, but when captured they try to bite.
Non-vampire bats are freed by the scientists because all of Mexico's other ninety species are beneficial to man.
Here the scientists are painting the vampire bats with poison. Each captive carried enough to kill 30 other vampires when they preen each other in their niche. Other bat species in the cave don't associate with vampires and hence won't be affected by the poison. However, this method of killing is difficult for the Mexican farmer.
Now the scientists are spraying cattle with vampire poison and they've also experimented with injecting it into the cattle; the cattle are not affected by the poison. Scientists believe that this method is the most promising way of dealing with the problem, and saving the millions of head of cattle which die each year from the bites of vampire bats.