With species going extinct so rapidly today, hearing that a new animal has been identified is welcome news. A bat that looks like a badger was recently discovered in the Republic of South Sudan, Africa; and this one, particularly, caught my attention, since I come from the “Badger State” of Wisconsin.
Bucknell University Associate Professor of Biology DeeAnn Reeder spotted the bat in the Bangangai Game Reserve. After returning to the United States, she determined that the bat was the same as one originally captured in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1939 and given the scientific name Glauconycteris superba. However, Reeder believes the “badger bat” represents a whole new genus now named Niumbaha, a term which means rare or unusual in Zande, the language of the Azande people in the state of Western Equatoria, where the bat was captured.
Bats are plant pollinators and consumers of astronomical amounts of insects, which make them ecologically important. Without them, many fruit-bearing plants would not generate fruits. In the United States, bats have such a positive effect on reducing insect pests that their contribution to agriculture has been valued in the billions of dollars each year.
For a bit of bat appreciation, watch the short video below. These nine baby bats are orphans temporarily residing at the Australian Bat Clinic. Although they are certainly cute, the clinic sends a reminder that you should never touch or approach a bat unless you are a registered rescuer and are vaccinated. Moving toward a wild bat may cause it to see you as a predator.
The baby bats will eventually be released back into the wild.