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Bat-proof netting at Angkor Wat installed to stop stone erosion

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The Apsara National Authority installs nets to prevent bats from roosting at Angkor Wat on Wednesday. APSARA NATIONAL AUTHORITY

Bat-proof netting at Angkor Wat installed to stop stone erosion

The Apsara National Authority (ANA), a body tasked with managing the Angkor Archaelogical Park, is installing a net in the roof of the Angkor Wat gallery to prevent bats from entering the structure as Bat urine is a source of moisture and salinity which combined erodes the temple’s stonework.

ANA spokesman Long Kosal said on August 25 that an ANA team was already putting in place the net.

Kosal explained that authorities resorted to this preventive measure because bats fly into dark places in the temple where they urinate and the moisture and salinity of the urine damages the temple.

He added that there were ancient wooden ceilings in the temple. For many years, the ceilings have been rotting. In response, ANA’s working group organised for the net to follow the contours of the ceiling, facilitating the installation of the bat barrier.

“There was already an old net there. So, we installed another one according to it. This time, we fixed the old net and also replaced some of it with a new net,” he said.

According to Kosal, ANA has already made similar barriers in other places. The team has been installing nets by monitoring the behaviour of bats that occupy dark areas in the roofs of all temples in the Angkor area.

“We have already put them [nets] in those places. But bats are clever, and they move downwards when we put in a layer. Now we install it a bit lower. We will try to install nets everywhere the bats live until they are gone. It is then not our concern,” he said.

Kosal said the installation of the barrier did not damage any part of Angkor Wat temple.

“The net we put in, I’m not sure if it was plastic or metal. I only know that it was a net that bats couldn’t penetrate, and it is light like a fishing net. The one we installed in the temple is high quality,” he said.

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