Bats cause alarm in Lima, Peru

(LIP-jl) — The presence of bats in Lima is nothing new. Nonetheless their seemingly increased presence and reports of these creatures spreading rabies throughout the Peruvian jungle earlier this year have caused alarm among residents from the district of Miraflores.

According to the district’s residents, bats are running ramped in various Miraflores parks after dark.

Peru 21 reports that residents who live near the La Aurora an Santa Cruz urbanizations of Miraflores have witnessed increased numbers of the flying creatures in their parks.

"The amount of bats at night is simply uncountable. There are too many. Residents are afraid of walking near the park," said Carlos Garcia, a security guard who provides security near Fernando Lopez Castilla Park.

Although no cases of bat bites have been reported in Lima, residents from the Santa Cruz area of Miraflores are still terrified of the bats that may carry rabies.

"The problem with bats is that you just never know if they are aggressive or carrying some type of disease," said resident Jorge Cabrera who says the bat population seems much higher than normal.

Veterinarian Rodrigo Rondon considers that bats have been stigmatized inappropriately by residents.

"People have a misperceived notion of bats that live around the capital. The ‘blood-sucking’ bats are found in the Peruvian jungle, while the ones found in Lima usually eat fruit and insects. They do not pose a threat to local residents," affirmed Roldon.

Despite his claims, the animal health expert indicated that anyone who is bitten by an animal should seek immediate medical attention to be immunized against rabies.

"Every warm-blooded animal can transmit rabies or other bacterial diseases," warned Rondon.

– related articles –
Peru: Authorities say cases of human rabies did not originate in Cuzco (by LIP, 28 February, 2007)
Rabid bat kills miner in Peru (by LIP, 26 February, 2007)
Bats kill 11 people in Peruvian jungle (by LIP, 30 January, 2007)