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How deforestation is increasing risk of bat-borne diseases for humans

Bat researchers in Australia noticed that when a bat habitat is degraded through deforestation and food is less available, the hungry bats search for food in areas where humans and farm animals live. This increases the risk of human exposure to bat-borne diseases.

A study published in Nature argues that protecting animal habitats will keep animals from having to leave in search of food and minimize contact with humans. The study proposes a focus on protecting and restoring animal habitat as an offensive measure in preventing the spread of dangerous viruses that could not only sicken and kill people but potentially spawn the next pandemic.

NPR’s Ari Daniel reports.

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