WILDLIFE: OAU and the upsurge of bats.

"Alfred Olufemi

   Every student of Obafemi Awolowo University can tell you about their bat-related experience during the course of obtaining their degree. From classes to halls of residence to other places on campus, these flight animals are always there to litter your clothes with their faeces, droppings or disturb with their cries.

    "During my 100 level days, I had them shit on my clothes one day. It later became a norm to have their droppings on me." Adeola said.

   Hassan Adeola, a final year student of the university narrated how usual the bats infringed on her right to move. But she's used to it after all.

    Another student, Akano David revealed that; although he loves the presence of the bats as an object of nature, he could not forget the day he was embarrassed in the presence of his girlfriend.
    "during a brief discussion while we were taking a walk, I discovered that the bats defecated on my clothes."
     Bats are mammals with hairs on them like humans. They are the only mammalian group that has the power of flight with the flapping of their wings, unlike other mammals.

   Also, bats posses a higher level of fertility, which make them procreate more than other birds.

Sky view at Obafemi Awolowo University 

    The updated fact sheets of the World Health Organization shows the vulnerability of humans to Ebola disease.
    "Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest."

   Fruit bats and effects.

    The specie of bats present in the school premises are scientifically called 'Eidolon helvum' and popularly known as 'fruit bats'. They are named fruits bat because they feed on fruits.

  These mammals are as old as the university itself. The presence of extremely tall trees in the environment, which was formerly called 'igbo adan' (bats' Bush), contributed to the choice of the place for the animal's habitat.

  Though they live on trees in the school environment, bats are migratory considering how favourable the weather is. This they are able to know with the help of sending out scouts and communicating with cries and roosting. They locate their habitat with the 'homing' device like angle of the sun, trees, geographical features.

    According to a scholar of vertebrates biology and ecology in the university's department of Zoology, Prof. Akinsola Akinpelu, the birds detest too much of rain but prefer a dry weather.

Professor Akinsola Akinpelu. 
Photo credits: www.oauife.edu.ng

       While speaking on the destructive nature of bats, he explained the fact that they defoliate all the trees by perching and how fruit trees suffer the damage a lot. "Soiling of cars and clothings as they vomit and defecate." he added.

"Squirrels and birds have been displaced because of their massive population in the university domain. These animals now occupy the lower strata considering ferocious attributes of bats, which they find threatening. "No animal competes with them." he asserted.

   The life span of bats are longer and to selectively remove them or control their density, cropping is required because it's not possible to eliminate them. There is no biological way to control them because they have no natural enemy.

    Babatunde Oyatoye, the chief security officer of the university explained that the department responsible for the cropping of bats is the CRACKERS.

     The Obafemi Awolowo University Safety Corps, formerly known as CRACKERS are responsible for the cropping of bats in the environment. The department works in conjunction with local guards and market women.

    The cropping exercise is done with barrel guns placed at strategic places so as to make it effective. The bats are being sold to the market women and the proceeds are remitted to the University purse.

  The Officer-in-Charge, Adebayo Sikiru, revealed to the journalist that the exercise is always done on weekends. Saturdays in particular.
      "Because students will be in their classes during the week, we kill the bats on Saturdays."he explained.

        He added that there are Six officers in the unit. 5 barrel guns and 2 packets of bullets containing 50 pieces are used for each cropping exercise with the aid of the local guards.

   "When we are done, we sell it out to people who eat them. Some take it with palm wine and others for different purposes." he buttressed.
When asked how frequently the exercise is done, he made it known that it is done based on the population of bats after carrying out a brief research.

  "Some times in three months we may not go out to kill them."

   However, through Mr. Alago Sodiq, a shoemaker in the school premises, OAO KIKILONSHE learnt that the officers have carried out the operation on Four different occasions within January and February.

  Students also expressed that the terrific sound of the gunshots during the cropping exercise sends fear to their spine.

      Bankole Olubunmi, a female student said that she fears every time she hear the gunshot.
      "Whenever I hear the shooting, I may be doing something in the room, and I will be be scared."


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