SHANGLA: Bats have attacked orchards of different fruits in Shangla, causing heavy losses to the owners by damaging ripe fruits.
The contractors and owners of the orchards said here on Sunday that a type of bats (Lubee bats) for the first time attacked the fruit orchards in Bisham and other parts of Shangla district where the bats ate and destroyed the fruit.
Habibur Rehman, who had been buying guava orchards on contract for years in Shang Bisham, said that it was the first time he had witnessed a strange kind of animals in his orchard. He said that a flock of big bats attacked the orchards in the darkness of night and destroyed the fruit.
“When I saw that the bats are causing losses to me, I started shooting them in the night. I have killed around 15-20 bats so far to protect the fruit. I have suffered losses of over Rs50,000 this year in contract of the orchard,” he said.
Bakhti, a guava orchard owner, said that large flocks of bats arriving every night had seriously damaged the guava fruit in his orchards.
“The bats mostly attacked persimmon trees. They had also destroyed the persimmon orchards by eating the fruit,” said Shahid Ali, an orchard owner.
He claimed that they had used all the traditional tactics to protect the fruit from the bats attack, but without any success.
Tonnes of guava fruit is produced in Bisham Shang every year and supplied to the markets of Shangla and Battagram districts. Shangla also has hundreds of persimmon orchards and is one of the biggest markets of the fruit. However, this year the expected produce could not be achieved due to the bats attack.
“I have approached the agriculture department, Shangla, and the officials visited the affected orchards, but they said that they have no remedy to protect the fruit from the large bats,” claimed Saeed Shah, an orchard owner.
The owners and contractors have demanded of the government to take steps for protection of their orchards from the bats attack.