Leonie Baier, Maja Zagmajster, Klemen Košelj, Brane Zorman-stream: Bats vs Corona (discussion)

Leonie Baier, Maja Zagmajster, Klemen Košelj, Brane Zorman-Bats VS Corona (archived and recorded discussion)


Bats vs Corona, discussion

Slovenian Association for Bat Research and Conservation and international partners

Start: 02/05 17:00 UTC+1

Online, Slovenia, Germany

Slovenian Association for Bat Research and Conservation and international partners:
Maja Zagmajster and Klemen Košelj both:
- Slovenian Association for Bat Research and Conservation
- SubBioLab, Department of Biology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of
Dr. Leonie Baier, Technical University of Munich
Moderated by Brane Zorman
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists have been trying to answer questions about the origin of the virus. While there is no definite evidence to support any answers, different speculations and interpretations based on thus far available data have appeared in the public. One of the most common is the speculation that the virus was passed to humans from bats. Bats are therefore becoming increasingly vilified and presented in the media as a sort of  public enemy. This speculation is often also well-received by the people (who are forced to stay at home, full of doubts and worries), because it is tangible and, at a first glance, very simple. As soon as we find the thing to blame, we can simply eliminate it and our problems will be gone. This kind of reasoning is quite often based on insufficient informaton or on information that is presented incorrectly or ambiguously. And since false information can hurt the perception of bats – as they are already getting intentionally hunted and killed – we have invited a group of experts to speak about bats and address the question of the alleged transmission of COVID-19 from bats to humans. We will talk about the major role bats play in maintaining a balanced ecosystem, about why it is important to protect the species, but we will also address the prejudice, fears and myths associated with these nocturnal animals as well as talk about simplified populist ideas and how science and expertise are ignored in the current global situation, all of which can lead to impulsive, rash decisions and strategies. We will try to find ways to inform the people and the media as objectively as possible about the research on the possible connections between bats and COVID-19 carried out thus far and, to wrap the discussion, also take audience questions.