Bat Conservation International's (BCI) vision is for a vibrant and diverse community of bat conservation partners proactively working for sustainable conservation at scale throughout Oceania. We will work collaboratively to achieve lasting conservation that prevents extinctions, identifies and protects the world’s Significant Bat Areas, and develops proactive solutions to serious threats.
Oceania is an area that is home to more than 176 bat species, >13% of the world. According to the IUCN, Papua New Guinea, with at least 93 bat species, currently has the most species documented in the region. New species continue to be described and known species are regularly being documented in new areas across Oceania as there is a growing movement on bat research and conservation.
Oceania's bat communities are among the most unique and threatened in the world due to the large number of island endemic species. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies 51 Oceania bats as Near-Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered -- >29% of the region’s bats! Bats in Oceania face challenges similar to those found elsewhere, but the threats are often more severe as endemic island bats have small ranges and often limited populations.
The loss of roosting and foraging habitat often comes from the conversion of natural lands for logging, agriculture, and mining. Further, the hunting of bats for bushmeat is another widespread threat in some cultures that poses major threats to bats in Oceania, especially in recent years when many bat species have reduced in population size from habitat degradation and overexploitation.
Bat conservation International will work with and through collaborative partnerships to achieve lasting bat conservation throughout Oceania. As data are limited on most of Oceania’s bats, we anticipate our initiatives will require targeted research to answer critical questions to inform our conservation initiatives, as well as extensive inventories of the island bat communities, assessments of habitats, and community awareness campaigns. We will collaborate to build upon local leadership and capacity, while also proactively working to broaden and strengthen it.
Currently, the Australasian Bat Society (ABS) is the only organization that has a regional mission for all of Oceania, although most of its focus remains on conservation challenges within Australia. BCI and ABS are exploring opportunities for collaborating on mutual priorities in Oceania, and we will encourage other non-governmental organizations, universities, local, regional and national governments, as well as corporate organizations to engage in effective collaborative partnerships to launch initiatives of high conservation value for bats.