According to a popular Philippine folklore, eating bats, particularly their wings, can away drive evil spirits. Another widely held belief is that scales from pangolins, a highly endangered ant-eating mammal, can ward off witch’s spells. Pangolin meat is said to cure asthma.
Exotic Filipino cuisine includes snakes, field rats, frogs and crocodiles. Various parts of these species are used in traditional medicine, too.
These traditions, superstitions and eating habits are not unique to Filipinos. In fact, demand for the meat and parts of rare or endangered species is what drives the wildlife trade. Human interaction with wildlife, through trade or consumption, also helps spread disease, such as COVID-19, which scientists say likely originated in bats and spread to humans through an intermediary host.
This is the second of three videos from VERA Files that looks to explain and debunk misinformation about Covid-19 and its links to the environment. You can link to Part 1 in the resources section below the video.
- Part 1 - COVID-19 Suspects: Bats, snakes and pangolins
- Webinar: How scientists detect and prevent the spread of viruses with pandemic potential (EJN), April 22, 2020
- Q&A on Coronaviruses (COVID-19) (World Health Organization), April 18, 2020
- Webinar: Zoonotic diseases and the spread of epidemics (EJN), April 2, 2020