Volume 39
Issue 3

By Mike Daulton

This Bat Week, we are reminded of the importance of our commitment to bat conservation. We will not back down as long as bats are threatened with permanent, irreversible extinction.

In 2019, Bat Conservation International (BCI), in coordination with Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) and Zoo Miami, opened the first FPL Bat Lab at Zoo Miami. Our goal was simple: to protect the federally endangered Florida bonneted bat—the rarest bat in the United States. Since then, we have made tremendous progress. The 16 custom-built bat houses that we erected throughout urban Miami are now 50% occupied by this bat. We have had the most success on the grounds of Zoo Miami, where our bat houses are 100% occupied. We are deeply proud of this partnership, the progress we are making toward advancing urban wildlife conservation, and the hope we are bringing for the future of this species that is clinging to existence in urban and suburban habitats.

Even with these achievements, our work is not complete. Just recently, a poorly planned and badly sited hotel and water park development, Miami Wilds, has been proposed on the Zoo Miami grounds. In its currently proposed location, this development will eliminate a critical foraging site for the Florida bonneted bat in the Miami-Dade area, pushing it further toward extinction. Tragically, it is proposed directly on the grounds of Zoo Miami where our recovery work for the bat is taking place. It would be awful if the hope we are building for the species would instead be turned into despair. BCI is making our voice heard, loud and clear, to the developers, the county commission, and others involved in the project. Thousands of BCI supporters like you made their voices heard with messages sent directly to the commissioners. This project directly threatens America’s rarest bat with permanent extinction. We will not back down. With your help, I know we can continue to give this bat a fighting chance at survival.