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  • You're standing at this abandoned mine.

  • You can only see maybe two or three meters

  • in before it's entirely black.

  • But in the kind of haze, you can see the kind of decrepit, old bits

  • of previous mining industry and overwhelmingly,

  • the squawk all these bats.

  • Their wings beating in the darkness.

  • Oh, you can hear them.

  • And you know what kind of species are inside?

  • And so what we're doing here is

  • basically just checking to see if there's

  • any signs of hunting.

  • Yes.

  • So you guys are stopping people from coming here.

  • That's your job.

  • Masks on?

  • Yes.

  • MAN 1: Masks on.

  • [inaudible] All right.

  • Let's check it out.

  • Yeah.

  • See, you can see them right here.

  • [bleep]

  • Wow.

  • Wow.

  • So there's an entire colony in here.

  • Yeah.

  • MAN (VOICEOVER): This is the first time in my life

  • I've been in a bat cave with bats flying around my head.

  • But also, in the knowledge that bats

  • contain viruses that are dangerous to humans,

  • especially in places like Liberia,

  • where we know Ebola came from, where all kinds of other

  • viruses that we don't yet know about.

  • So it really was kind of quite unnerving.

  • MAN: Wow.

  • CHRIS: Wow.

  • MAN (VOICEOVER): It was a relief to have Chris nearby.

  • He was quite relaxed about the whole thing.

  • CHRIS (VOICEOVER): For me, because I'm a complete wildlife

  • geek, I think that this is one of the most beautiful things

  • that I've seen, even though I know that there

  • is this potential risk.

  • And people want these bats right, Chris?

  • These are valuable.

  • In many places, these are a preferred food

  • item, where people will pay almost

  • a premium price for something.

  • So this would be a prime hunting ground

  • for someone to come in here and just collect a whole bunch.

  • OK, so if you came in here as your average poacher,

  • you're not wearing a mask, and there's no real protection,

  • you could easily pick up any kind of--

  • This is the exact type of almost transmission

  • scenario, where you are getting aerosolized urine,

  • aerosolized feces.

  • But also, if you're killing the bats,

  • you're then exposed directly to their blood as well.

  • Wow.

  • CHRIS: Yes.

  • Let's walk in a little bit.

  • Wow, it just keeps going.

  • This is absolutely insane.

  • A lot of the old, iron ore processing equipment,

  • I'm guessing.

  • Is that right?

  • And you guys, what are you looking for?

  • What have you found?

  • Moses, what is that?

  • CHRIS: So a poacher came in here and set that up.

  • Yes, exactly.

  • Yes.

  • MAN (VOICEOVER): Moses and his team

  • find this trap, which seems to suggest

  • that humans have been inside.

  • CHRIS (VOICEOVER): So you have hunters, who were staying

  • in this cave night after night, being exposed to bat feces,

  • bat urine, bat bites.

  • There's actually a horseshoe bats and a type of fruit bat.

  • Horseshoe bats are known to be related, potentially,

  • to COVID and also to Ebola.

  • Oh, wow.

  • Oh, my God.

  • CHRIS (VOICEOVER): And we go further and further back

  • into the depths of the cave.

  • And Moses looks down.

  • And he actually sees a whole host

  • of dead bats on the ground.

  • CHRIS: Wow.

  • This is insane.

  • MAN: This is a baby.

  • CHRIS: Yeah.

  • Oh, my God.

  • This one is probably a juvenile or sub-adult. This

  • one's definitely a juvenile.

  • So what caused this one to die?

  • So you almost wonder if there was

  • some sort of disease that spread through this community of bats.

  • It would certainly explain why do

  • you have a variety of different age

  • classes of bats that are all dead in the exact same spot.

  • It feels like this is something that's

  • really important to understand.

  • MAN (VOICEOVER): And Chris is fascinated by this.

  • And it could be that these bats have

  • died of some kind of virus.

  • It really does feel like we're in a front line

  • of something unknown.

  • Young bats should not be dying basically.

  • Not like this.

  • And I think, obviously, the issue is

  • if there's a poacher in here, and there's a dead bat,

  • and there's blood or whatever, so there's a problem.

  • So there's probably some sort of disease.

  • Exactly.

  • CHRIS (VOICEOVER): Bats were known

  • to be the reservoir of Ebola.

  • It also transmitted to other types of animals

  • and then was transmitted to humans.

  • This is the exact way that a new deadly virus could start.

You're standing at this abandoned mine.

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How Bats Can Transmit Viruses | Virus Hunters

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/17
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