Letter to the Editor

I'm encouraged that the student from Brazil was interested in the Endangered Spe-cies
UPDATE, but I’m extremely upset by part of your response to his letter about felids in the recent issue (Vol. 18, No.1 2001). You stated that felids control pests such as "various rodents and bats." I am disappointed that you would foster wide-spread
misconceptions about bats being pests, especially to a country where human
fear and subsequent elimination of important bat species is a serious problem. Bats
are essential pollinators and seed distributors of many plant species, commercial
and otherwise, especially in biologically diverse areas such as the Amazon Basin.
Bats also help to control "pests" such as many insect species that spread disease.
True, there are vampire bat species, but most of these feed on native animals or
livestock, and rarely pose a threat to people. Additionally, rabies is also rare in bats,
being found more often in terrestrial mammals such as canids and rodents! I hope
that you inform your readers of the benefits of bats, and encourage articles about
the many endangered bat species in the U.S. and around the world. Please refer to
the Bat Conservation International website www.batcon.org for more information.
J. Thayer
University of California, Davis; Point Reyes Bird Observatory

Editor's response
Thank you for your comment—I agree completely! Responses to such questions are
researched and written by undergraduate students through a program with the Uni-versity of Michigan. Unfortunately, the editors did not catch that slip. Thank you
for pointing it out.