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McClure Scholar Publishes Article on Local Farmers’ Perceptions of Bats in Belize

The W. K. McClure Scholarship Program offers UT students financial awards up to $5,000 to support research and creative projects abroad aimed at enhancing and promoting education for world responsibility. In 2018, Mallory Tate, a master’s student in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, received the award to fund a project in Belize partially.

Tate is part of a group, in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, that studied local community perceptions of bats in Belize. The group consists of Adam Willcox, research assistant professor, and the UTIA Smith International Center coordinator; Hannah Shapiro, Master of Science candidate; and Emma Willcox, associate professor.

The group recently published a paper titled Can Farmers and Bats Co-exist? Farmer Attitudes, Knowledge, and Experiences with Bats in Belize.

“As you may have heard, humans consume bats in many areas of the world, and COVID-19 may have crossed over from bats to humans in a wet market,” A. Willcox commented. “We did not specifically study COVID-19 in our study. However, we did look into other farmer risk perceptions of diseases that humans can possibly contract from contact with bats.”