The bat from Velddrif, which is one of a few bats that have ever been diagnosed with cancer, has suddenly come to an end.
Battie, who was flown to Pretoria last month to be treated, died a week ago.
“She deteriorated so suddenly. The tumor just grew too fast,” says Vicky Karropoulos, co-founder of ThinkBat and a bat expert and lover.
“We wanted so badly to find her healthy. We prayed so hard, and hoped and believed that we would get it right.”
Karropoulos says Battie’s treatment was, however, a difficult thing as they have never encountered a bat with such a tumor. On the contrary, Battie was the first bat ever with this tumor. The tumor was found under one of her wings.
“How does one treat something that has never been seen before?”
Cancer in bats is extremely rare and scientists believe that bats have anti-cancer mechanisms in their DNA, therefore it is an extremely strange phenomenon to find a tumor on these animals.
There may be a handful of bats in the world where a tumor has previously been found. Battie is the first in South Africa, and apparently now the first in the world with this type of crop.
“We are very sad. Battie was extra special.”
According to Karropoulos, Battie’s tumor caught the attention of pathologists and they still plan to examine the tumor even after her death.
“Battie left a legacy and we are hopeful that we will learn a lot from this. Hopefully with this research we will be able to help animals and even people who have cancer in the future.”