Save the Cave, Save the Bats

If their only mating roost is made uninhabitable, it will be catastrophic for this nectar-feeding bat species.  

A single cave, Cueva del Diablo, just outside Mexico City, one of the world’s most highly populated cities, is the only mating roost for the globally endangered Mexican long-nosed bat and is the only major roost known for the winter range of the species.

Mexican long-nose bat
 Alberto E. Rojas Martínez / Bat Conservation International

Although Cueva del Diablo lies within a protected landscape, it falls under a communal lands management system and, therefore, not subject to strict “no construction” guidance from the park. Thus, development is occurring without regard to the sensitivity of the cave and its surroundings.

We need your help to stop the encroachment upon this vital bat breeding site.

Within the last two years, a home was built within five feet of the sinkhole where bats enter and exit the cave. Other homes and buildings are being constructed on top of the cave, threatening this important site. One of these homes collapsed into the cave. Thankfully, no one was injured and the home fell into an area of the cave where bats were not roosting, but the next development mishap may not be so lucky for community members or these bats already on the brink of losing this critical roosting site.

Not only is the cave under construction threat, but it has become a popular site for professional speleological groups, and amateur explorers and visitors are regularly present. Unfortunately, bats are susceptible to changes in their environment, and this type of routine disturbance in and around the cave reduces the suitability of the site for these bats. Humans entering the cave may also bring in pathogens to which these bats have no resistance.

Cueva del Diablo
Ana Ibarra / Bat Conservation International 

Eminent bat conservationist Dr. Rodrigo Medellin and his team at the University of Mexico have long advocated for the protection of this site and helped the species be added to the Endangered Species Act. Securing this site also was identified as the top conservation priority in 2016 by a binational team of conservationists and researchers. Today, Bat Conservation International’s scientists, Medellin and other in-country partners are building relationships on the ground and exploring opportunities to protect Cueva del Diablo and save these bats from extinction. together.

Your critical support is needed now to finalize the development and agreement of a community-based land conservation and management plan that includes a legally binding process for long-term land protection. The result will be permanent protection and development of the Cueva del Diablo Bat Sanctuary, the highest priority conservation action needed to protect this species.

But we can’t do it without you. Will you make a gift today to protect this important site?

This species population size is estimated to have already decreased by 50 percent in the last decade. The future of the Mexican long-nosed bat relies on our intervention and on your support.

To bring this plan to fruition, we need to raise $200,000 before Dec. 31. Giving to BCI will ensure long-term protection for this nectar-feeding bat. If we can reach our ambitious goal, we can immediately get to work on our three-year plan. Bat Conservation International is passionately committed to long-term, sustainable conservation solutions like this one. Though it will take several years, this work will save an essential site for bats for generations to come.

Protecting the Mexican long-nosed bat’s only breeding site will be the difference between the survival or extinction of these endangered bats. That’s why your support is so critical.

At this very minute, the overwintering bats are at risk of cave-ins, disturbance by intruding humans, and destruction of the habitat they rely on. Every day we wait, these bats’ lives are at risk. You can be the difference for this threatened bat species.  Please donate today.