Volume 35
Issue 3
Merlin Tuttle is a name synonymous with the magic and wonder of bats. His passion for these often maligned creatures along with his famous photography skills brought these animals out of the dark and to the forefront of the minds of millions. Founding
Bat Conservation International (BCI) in the mid-1980s, Merlin has been and still is an avid advocate for bat conservation.

Merlin Tuttle photographs a Gambian epauletted fruit bat
(Epomophorus gambianus)
Photo: MerlinTuttle.org

BCIs headquarters in Austin stands as a testament to one of his shining achievementsbringing BCI to Austin to lead a vigorous public education campaign to save the 1.5-million strong colony of Mexican free-tailed bats under Congress Avenue Bridge. After
meeting with media, community groups, schoolchildren and city leaders, he, along with the BCI team, gradually convinced the people of Austin that they have little to fear and much to gain from their nocturnal neighbors. Now they have become a delight
for visitors and locals alike, generating millions of tourism dollars each year for the local economy.

To honor his leadership, the BCI Board of Directors is proud to announce the establishment of the Merlin Tuttle Conservation Award, a funding opportunity for those wishing to strengthen bat conservation through research and community engagement.

Recipients of this distinguished award will be chosen from among the applications received by BCI during a given year in response to BCIs Requests for Proposals. The first awardee will be selected from the next RFP that will be announced in October.
The Merlin Tuttle Conservation Award will inspire scientific research and community action to protect bats around the world and address critical conservation needs.

Since 1998, BCI has awarded more than $1 million to more than 200 aspiring bat conservation leaders for projects in 40 countries. Many of those recipients are now recognized for their expertise at the highest levels in their home countries and within
the international scientific and conservation communities.