Conservation Values and Risk of Handling Bats: Implications for One Health Communication
Flying-foxes provide critical ecosystem services, but their role as hosts to zoonotic pathogens may undermine conservation support. We surveyed 214 residents of Cairns, Australia, regarding their perceptions about health risks associated with flying-foxes and support for flying-fox conservation. Greater likelihood of handling a flying-fox was associated with lower knowledge about risks, greater conservation support, and environmental organization membership. Respondents less likely to seek medical attention after a minor scratch tended to be younger, unemployed and perceive lower risk. Individuals who support flying-fox conservation should be one group targeted in One Health communication integrating health and conservation messages.
KeywordsFlying-foxes Zoonoses One Health Risk perception Benefit perception Conservation values
The authors wish to acknowledge the Cairns Regional Council for its support and assistance in participant recruitment to this survey.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Communicable Disease Network Australia (2013) Rabies virus and other lyssavirus (including Australian Bat Lyssavirus). CDNA National Guidelines for Public Health Units. Available: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cdna-song-abvl-rabies.htm [Accessed June 21. 2017]
- Communicable Diseases Network Australia (2017) Hendra Virus CDNA National Guidelines for Public Health Units. Available: www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/0E7D7BF4F17C1A96CA257BF0001CBF10/$File/Hendra-virus-SoNG.pdf [Accessed 8 November 2017]
- Decker DJ, Siemer WF, Evensen DT, Stedman RC, McComas KA , Wild MA, Castle KT, Leong KM (2012). Public perceptions of wildlife-associated disease: risk communication matters. Human–Wildlife Interactions, 6(1), 112-122Google Scholar
- Hall, L., & Richards, G. (2000). Flying Foxes. Fruit and Blossom Bats of Australia. Sydney, Australia: University of New South Wales Press.Google Scholar
- Quinn, E. K., Massey, P. D., Cox-Witton, K., Paterson, B. J., Eastwood, K., & Durrheim, D. N. (2014). Understanding human - bat interactions in NSW, Australia: improving risk communication for prevention of Australian bat lyssavirus. BMC Veterinary Research, 10, 144. https://doi.org/10.1186/1746-6148-10-144 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Rose DB (2011) Flying fox: Kin, Keystone, Kontaminant. Australian humanities review, 50. Available: http://www.australianhumanitiesreview.org/archive/Issue-May-2011/rose.html [Accessed 22 June 2017]
- Tait, J., Perotto-Baldivieso, H. L., McKeown, A., & Westcott, D. A. (2014). Are flying-foxes coming to town? Urbanisation of the spectacled flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) in Australia. Plos One, 9(10), e109810. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0109810 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Wood, J. L. N., Leach, M., Waldman, L., MacGregor, H., Fooks, A. R., Jones, K. E., Restif O., Dechmann, D., Hayman, D. T., Baker, K. S., Peel, A. J., Kamins, A. O., Fahr, J., Ntiamoa-Baidu, Y., Suu-Ire, R., Breiman, R. F., Epstein, J. H., Field, H. E., & Cunningham, A. A. (2012). A framework for the study of zoonotic disease emergence and its drivers: spillover of bat pathogens as a case study. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 367(1604), 2881-2892. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2012.0228 CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar