Bat Conservation International (BCI) envisions a global community working together to conserve bats at a global scale, preventing further extinctions, identifying and protecting the world’s Significant Bat Areas, developing proactive solutions to serious threats, and ultimately ensuring lasting survival of the world’s 1300+ species of bats. To that end, we must prioritize where and how we work to advance collaborative conservation to ensure we achieve our desired and lasting conservation impact.
Global Bat Species Richness
Africa is home to more than 21% of the world’s species of bats (269+ species).
Learn more about BCI's collaborative work to conserve Africa’s bats.
Asia is home to more than 34% of the world’s species of bats (448+ species).
Learn more about BCI's collaborative work to conserve Asia’s bats.
Oceania is home to more than 13% of the world’s species of bats (176+ species).
Learn more about BCI's collaborative work to conserve Oceania’s bats.
Latin America is home to more than 26% of the world’s species of bats (345+ species).
Learn more about BCI's collaborative work to conserve Latin America’s bats.
USA-Canada is home to more than 3% of the world’s species of bats (47 species).
Learn more about BCI's collaborative work to conserve USA-Canada’s bats.
Globally, bats are facing wide-ranging threats that jeopardize their very existence in some cases. Foremost among this myriad of global threats is habitat degradation and loss from a variety of human activities. Deforestation for timber production, conversion to agricultural lands, and urbanization destroys critical roosts and important feeding areas. Cave and underground mine disturbance and destruction from urbanization, mining, and tourism, as well as the direct persecution of bats, has also killed millions of bats globally. Other serious threats include indiscriminant killing based on superstitions or fears of disease, uncontrolled hunting of bats for food and folk medicine, wind turbine-caused mortality, and improper mining of bat guano for fertilizer. Climate change threatens to disrupt biological life cycles of the plants and insects on which bats depend and degrade the suitability of roost sites and availability of water.
Invasive non-native species also pose severe threats to many species of bats. Island-based bats, by virtue of their isolated evolution, limited geographic range, and small population size, are particularly vulnerable to introduced species such as the Brown Tree Snake (Boiga irregularis), Yellow Crazy Ants (Anoplolepis gracilipes), or the feral Pigs (Sus scrofa) and Goats (Capra hircus) that can severely degrade forest habitats.
In 2006, the world had a wakeup call to emerging threats that have severe consequences to the conservation of bats. It is widely believed that as many as 25 of the 47 US and Canadian bat species may be vulnerable when hibernating to the introduced fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the cause of White-nose Syndrome, which by some estimates has killed more than 5.7 million bats since 2006 in central and eastern North America.
Bats in a New York cave display the fungus-covered snouts of White-nose Syndrome.