Periodic monitoring of vampire bats and rabies: a new framework for animal restoration projects in the Neotropics

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Authors

Fernando Gonçalves, Daniel G. Streicker, Mauro Galetti

Abstract

Nowadays, restoration project might lead to increased public engagement and enthusiasm for biodiversity and is receiving increased media attention in major newspapers, TED talks and the scientific literature. However, empirical research on restoration project is rare, fragmented, and geographically biased and long-term studies that monitor indirect and unexpected effects are needed to support future management decisions especially in the Neotropical area. Changes in animal population dynamics and community composition following species (re)introduction may have unanticipated consequences for a variety of downstream ecosystem processes, including food web structure, predator-prey systems and infectious disease transmission. Recently, an unprecedented study in Brazil showed changes in vampire bat feeding following a rewilding project and further transformed the land-bridge island into a high-risk area for rabies transmission. Due the lessons learned from ongoing project, we present a novel approach on how to anticipate, monitor, and mitigate the vampire bats and rabies in rewilding projects. We pinpoint a series of precautions and the need for long-term monitoring of vampire bats and rabies responses to rewilding projects and highlighted the importance of multidisciplinary teams of scientist and managers focusing on prevention educational program of rabies risk transmitted by bats. In addition, monitoring the relative abundance of vampire bats, considering reproductive control by sterilization and oral vaccines that autonomously transfer among bats would reduce the probability, size and duration of rabies outbreaks. The rewilding assessment framework presented here responds to calls to better integrate the science and practice of rewilding and also could be used for long-term studying of bat-transmitted pathogen in the Neotropical area as the region is considered a geographic hotspots of “missing bat zoonoses”.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.32942/osf.io/53hda

Subjects

Biodiversity, Immunology and Infectious Disease, Immunology of Infectious Disease, Life Sciences

Keywords

Dates

Published: 2020-11-06 20:05

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CC-By Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

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