Subject: Viridian Note 00114: Viridian Disasters

Key concepts: Hurricane Mitch, disturbed ecosystem,
urban vampire bats, Nicaragua

Attention Conservation Notice: Even for a connoisseur of freakish, unnerving weather aberrations, this one is beyond the beyond.

Links: European net.artists rally their infowar vampire
bats to combat tawdry, shameful domain-poaching by corporate Yankee commercial interests:

Source: Glenn Garvin, Miami Herald; Austin American-
Statesman, Saturday December 11, 1999, page A37

"Nicaragua Under Seige by Mitch-Aroused Vampire Bats"

by Glenn Garvin

"Cuyali, Nicaragua == The bats chittered nervously as the flashlight's beam danced over them, their tiny white fangs shining brightly. The light dropped lower, catching two old wooden support beams, a glistening black in the shifting yellow light. 'That's blood,' whispered Aris Mejia, 'pure blood.'"

(((Wow! It's Pulitzer material!)))

(...) "Nicaragua, which is regularly battered by civil wars, earthquakes, volcanos, tidal waves and hurricanes, is now under siege by thousands of vampire bats.

"They've attacked at least 22 people this year, resulting in one known death, and the toll of cattle, pigs and chickens == favorite vampire targets == is unknown. (...)

"Nicaragua's vampire bats are a native population but were never much of a problem until Hurricane Mitch roared through the northern part of the country last year. The widespread flooding and mudslides triggered by the hurricane's heavy rains drove the bats from their rural caves into populated areas. (...)

"And although literature on vampire bats is replete with assurances that they rarely attack humans, Nicaraguans know otherwise. A small girl who lived in the village of Las Brisas, 75 miles northeast of Managua, died of rabies earlier this year after being bitten by a vampire. A few miles north, in El Espino, parents awoke one night to find bats drinking the blood of both their young daughters as they slept in their beds.

"Vampire bats have been sighted in nearly all of Nicaragua's major cities, but the worst problems have come in the northern provinces of Esteli and Madriz, in remote mountain villages like this one.

"The 212 citizens of Cuyali, 80 miles north of the capital and accessible only by a series of rutted dirt tracks and dried riverbeds, have been fighting off the bats for months.

"'Every night they're after us,'" said farmer Jesus Lopez, 46. "The cows, the horses and us, too. We can't really do anything about them. Well, we've rubbed garlic on the animals == the bats don't like that.'

"'The bats just don't like the odor,' he explained. 'And it only lasts one night. If you don't put fresh garlic on the animals the next night, the bats come back.'

"Though vampires are voracious eaters for their size == they consume about 100 percent of their body weight per night == a big meal is still only about eight teaspoons of blood. Their real danger is the diseases they carry, including rabies, brucellosis and several illnesses fatal to cattle."

(((And, as a final blood-sipping fillip:)))

"'We only kill the vampires in the colony, not any insect-eating bats,' which are welcome in this land plagued by hordes of mosquitoes carrying malaria and dengue fever."

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