History & Values
Bat Conservation International’s mission is to conserve the world’s bats and their ecosystems to ensure a healthy planet. Based in Austin, Texas, BCI is devoted to conservation, education and research initiatives involving bats and the ecosystems they serve. It was founded in 1982, as scientists around the world became concerned that bats, which are crucial for maintaining the balance of nature and the health of many human economies, were in alarming decline. Under the founding guidance of Dr. Merlin Tuttle, an internationally recognized authority on bats, the organization achieved unprecedented progress by emphasizing sustainable uses of natural resources that benefit both bats and people.
BCI now employs a staff of more than 30 biologists, educators and administrators, supported by members in some 60 countries. BCI’s educational achievements include major television documentaries, such as The Secret World of Bats, and award-winning exhibits that continue to reach millions of people each year. Its publications and audiovisual programs empower thousands of BCI members and partners to greatly extend the organization’s philosophy and mission.
BCI's conservation efforts have resulted in permanent protection for many of North America’s most important remaining bat caves, saved millions of bats from being accidentally buried during mine-safety closures and led to creation of the first national park in U.S. history to protect a tropical rainforest. BCI has sponsored research documenting the key roles of bats in major ecosystems, supported training for graduate students in 62 countries, and trained hundreds of wildlife managers from more than 20 countries in bat-management and conflict-avoidance techniques.
Today, BCI is expanding its bat conservation goals and, through its growing worldwide partnerships, is multiplying the impact of every dollar invested.
But much remains to be done as we educate increasingly urbanized generations to appreciate and protect the natural world. BCI has proven that bats and people can live together in harmony, with great mutual benefit. Bats are an irreplaceable and invaluable natural resource that simply must be conserved. Nevertheless, they still rank among the world’s most misunderstood and endangered wildlife. Hence, BCI’s continuing mission.
Core Values & Operating Principles
Bat Conservation International is dedicated to the following values:
Tangible and Lasting Conservation Results: BCI recognizes the mounting pressures on bats throughout the world and is dedicated to working at a global scale, leveraging BCI’s human and financial resources many times over through targeted innovation, conservation action and enhancing the capacity of partners. We are dedicated to finding “win-win” solutions that safeguard bats and help communities meet their related economic, social and public health needs without compromising our core mission of protecting bats and their habitats worldwide.
Respect and Commitment to Diversity: As a global organization, BCI respects the beliefs, cultural traditions and socioeconomic and political conditions that distinguish communities and countries. We value the unique perspectives and qualities of each person and create an environment of trust, mutual respect and teamwork within and outside BCI. We are committed to strengthening the diversity of our Board, staff and volunteers.
Integrity and Accountability: BCI’s Board of Directors, staff and volunteers are dedicated to the highest ethical and professional standards, acting with complete honesty, transparency and fair dealing, and obeying all applicable laws and regulations wherever we work. We are accountable to our mission, members, partners and each other in upholding our values, knowing that lasting conservation success depends not only on what we do, but how we do it.
BCI also adheres to the following core operating principals:
- We collaborate with government, industry, academia, communities and the nonprofit sector to achieve lasting conservation at scale for the world’s bats.
- We work to build the capacity of myriad public and private partners, scientific networks, and communities to protect bats and their essential habitats.
- We identify, promote and fund research on important scientific and conservation questions that contribute to the lasting protection of bats.
- We engage on priority conservation needs using the best available scientific and management information to avoid further extinctions and resolve threats to bats.
- We inspire people, communities, government agencies and organizations to act through partnerships and networks, providing training, technical information, management know-how and other resources to protect bats.
- BCI engages in strong working relationships with private community leaders and public agencies and officials in the countries and localities in which we work, and abides by all applicable laws and regulations in those countries.