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Tabloid News of Tuesday, 25 May 2004

Source: Graphic

Bats Adapt To Hospital Premises

The 37 Military Hospital?s long-time guests, the bats, seem to have vacated their abodes on the trees beside the hospital.Historically, the bats are said to have migrated from Kyebi in the Eastern Region to the present location.

Many people have assigned various reasons for the apparent displacement of the bats, including the noise resulting from the renovation of the hospital.Others think that the new environment at the hospital is no longer conducive to their habitation.

At the 37 Military Hospital the activities of the bats and their droppings were causing a lot of anxiety and environmental concern, as they continued to defoliate the trees in the area and made a lot of noise that disturbed patients on admission. Many attempts had been made by the hospital authorities to move them away from the area but they kept coming back.

According to Mr Gerald Osei Boakye, a project manager of the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS), bats by themselves do not cause nuisance except they are disturbed. ?Bats by themselves do not defecate unless they are flying. Therefore it does no good to frighten them. It is only then that they release their droppings.?

He said it would be difficult to move them from their present location at the 37 Military Hospital since the bats have adapted to living in the Mahogany trees in the area.

It would be recalled that at one time when soldiers at the 37 Military Hospital attempted to drive away the bats, they moved to the Efua Sutherland Children?s Park, but were only deterred by the presence of crows which already inhabited the place.

Another foreseeable danger in forcibly removing the bats is that because they do not see well, when disturbed they may begin to fly very low and affect vehicular traffic. An inter-sectorial committee to manage the bat situation at the 37 Military Hospital has already been established to find a lasting solution to the problem.

The committee comprises the Ghana Wildlife Society, the Army Headquarters, the Ministry of Defence and the Administration of the 37 Military Hospital.

Others are the Forest Services Division, Department of Parks and Gardens, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Zoology Department of the University of Ghana and the Forestry Institute of Ghana (FORIG).