A Thai blogger is risking up to five years in jail for taping herself eating a whole bat in a bowl of soup. The dead animal is seen floating in a mud-colored soup with cherry tomatoes, according to The Daily Mail. Phonchanok Srisunaklua uploaded the one-minute and 40-second clip of this to her Gin Zap Bep Nua Nua (Eat spicy and delicious) YouTube channel.
The graphic footage also captures her saying the bats are delicious, followed by her ripping them apart and dipping them in the sauce. The situation gets even more revolting. The woman bites into the bones and then claims they are soft. The responses she got weren’t pretty.
‘If you’re going to die, die alone. No one will blame you. But you’ll be damned if you start a pandemic,” one angry user posted. “You put yourself at risk. If you get sick don’t bother burdening doctors and nurses,” another person wrote.
An expert weighs in on the risks of eating bats
Veterinarian Pattaraphon Manee-on is the head of the wildlife health management group at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. She weighed in on the graphic footage. “I was shocked to see it in the clip now,” he told The Daily Mail. “Because the incident should not happen both in Thailand and around the world, it is very risky behavior, especially as bats have a lot of pathogens. There is no proof that the hot water temperature will actually kill the germs.”
“Besides the concern about the disease in bats, this woman could be guilty of breaking the Preservation and Protection and Wildlife Act, B.E. 2019,” he added. “Bats are protected animals.”
He said that the risks come from contact with the saliva, blood, and skin of the bat. Some experts believe the animals carry over 10,000 viruses. These viruses could potentially be transmitted to humans and spark another pandemic such as COVID-19.
Now the YouTuber and teacher has been arrested. The charge is for reportedly “possession of protected wildlife carcasses” and violations of the Computer Crimes Act (2007). The woman later posted an apology video
How common is bat consumption?
Bats are considered delicacies in many cultures, including those of China, Vietnam, the Seychelles Islands, Indonesia, Palau, Thailand, and Guam. Although only a fraction of insect-eating bat species are hunted for food, almost half of all fruit bats are. The fruit bats of Marianas are considered quite the specialty dish in Guam.
Roughly 167 species of bats worldwide are hunted for reasons such as food, medicine, hide or teeth, and sport. Out of all bat species, 13% are hunted. Some types of bats aren’t hunted as often though: while 50% of megabat species are frequently sought after for food purposes, only 8% of insectivorous varieties face the same fate.
A 2016 review found that bats are hunted for food or traditional medicine in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, South America, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and West and Central Asia. But no species were recorded as being hunted for these reasons in Caribbean Europe, North America, or North Mesoamerica.