21 July 2009

Spare our bats

Situated along the winding route of the Maharajah Jungle Trek is the Anandapur Community Hall, nestled against the Bat Cliffs. Inside, like most community centers are bulletin boards with newspaper clippings, photographs, upcoming movie posters, and community advisories. As with many of the posters, signs, and artwork within Disney’s Animal Kingdom, these posters tell a story. This particular story is about the local bat population, the good they do for the area, and what people can do to aid the bats.The first poster in the Community Hall alerts hunters that the bats are needed to help grow and fertilize the farmers’ crops. The artwork features a non-threatening depiction of a bat to emphasize that these bats are not a threat and should be left in peace. The second poster discusses not only how the bats work as pest control, but ways in which the village can create an environment in which the bats could thrive. Ideas listed include building a bat house, preserve the forest, and not using pesticides.Within the space between the Bat Cliffs and the Community Hall is an area filled with prayer flags, large amounts of vegetation, ornate wood and stone pieces, and a hefty accumulation of bats. The bats who reside in these cliffs and alongside the flags are Malayan Flying Foxes and Rodrigues Fruit Bats. The Malayan Flying Fox can have a wingspan of up to six feet and can daily consume up to its own body weight in food, but due to their size they cannot take flight from the ground. The Rodrigues Fruit Bat, however, can take off from the ground and, during flight, hover in midair. As graceful as this fruit bat may be, it makes up for it by producing loud screeching as it continually jockeys for an advantageous place to perch.Like many of the often untraveled and overlooked areas of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and even those that are heavily traveled, the amount of stories contained within a single space are immense. Whether it is the Community Hall of Anandapur, Harambe Wildlife Reserve, or The Dino Institute, take note of everything around you there is always a story and a message waiting to be uncovered by the curious.

1 comment:

AJ said...

What a great tribute to an area that too many visitors breeze right through. Although I've spent quite a bit of time in the "bat room," I've never seen those posters!