Researchers in headlights and protective suits race to untangle the claws and wings of bats caught in a large net after dark in the Philippine province of Laguna.
The tiny animals are carefully placed in cloth bags for carrying, measuring and cleaning, with details recorded and saliva and fecal matter collected for analysis before being returned to the wild.
Exposure from humans and closer interaction with wildlife meant that the risk of disease transmission was now higher than ever, said bat ecologist Kirk Taray.
“By having baseline data on the nature and occurrence of the potentially zoonotic virus in bats, we can somehow predict possible outbreaks.”
PHOTO EDITION MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI; WRITE TO MARTIN PETTY, EDIT KARISHMA SINGH; DESIGN JULIA DALRYMPLE