We Belong Together

Bats and agaves rely on each other for survival. Protecting and restoring agave habitat is critical, not just for bats, but for the ecosystems and communities that rely on them. Discover our stories, photos, and videos to learn more.

Bruce D. Taubert

Restoring Agave for Nectar-feeding Bats

Pollinator species such as the Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis) and the lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) rely on agave nectar throughout their migratory range, and, as agave blossoms at night, these plants rely heavily on these nocturnal pollinators. By understanding this pollinator partnership between nectar-feeding bats and wild agave, we aim to restore agave that sustain the bat populations that rely on them. Discover how this mutualistic relationship benefits habitats, communities, and businesses- We Belong Together.

If you live along the southwest United States or northeast Mexico, you can help these bats by planting native agave species (see below). Check out this booklet we developed with partner Borderlands Restoration Network for more detailed information about agave restoration and planting: Growing Agaves for Bats.


Protect critical roosting sites across the migratory range of pollinating bats
Restore foraging habitat surrounding roosts (50 km buffer area)
Restore foraging habitat along migratory corridors in the borderlands, focusing on increasing densities of flowering agaves in parks and protected areas

Project Details

The status of pollinators in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands has emerged as a critical conservation issue because of their importance to agriculture, biodiversity conservation, and ecosystem function. Three species of nectar-feeding bats serve as primary pollinators for important desert plants in Mexico and the southwestern United States. Roost disturbance and habitat loss led to the rapid decline of these bats.

Populations of the Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis) decreased by 50% over the last 10 years. We will protect known roosts while continuing to grow a range-wide restoration effort to enhance foraging habitat in proximity to critical roost sites.

Our research agenda will expand to identify culturally and environmentally suitable sites for agave restoration and provide direction to target specific areas to create resilient nectar corridors for migratory movements. To address the bi-national landscape scale of the operation, we will develop diverse partnerships. These will help us expand the capacity to grow and plant locally adapted and sourced agave plants in the form of seed and nursery material in areas of highest impact for bat conservation.

Bats Need Agave

Native to the hot and arid regions of the Southwestern United States, Mexico, Central and South America, agaves spend their lives building up sugars for the moment when they send a massive flowering stalk up into the sky. The nectar-rich flowers serves as an essential food source for hungry migrating bats, including the bi-nationally endangered Mexican long-nosed bat and the lesser long-nosed bat. These bats will follow the agave bloom northward, where they will give birth to their young, before returning south in the fall. See this interactive map.

Bat Conservation International (BCI) is promoting agave restoration as well as educational efforts for mescal producers and the broader public about the important role of bats for agave pollination.

Our core goal is to protect and enhance existing agave habitats and encourage the growth of new agave stands to facilitate and sustain the migration pathways of nectar-feeding bats. Our 10-year plan calls for expansive agave plantings and better management of agave habitat throughout the region.


By leading dynamic collaborations with our partners, we are happy to announce that one of the nectar-feeding bats, the Lesser-long nosed bat, was recently removed from the IUCN’s Endangered Species List. Through creative thinking and measurable conservation plans like these we can end bat extinctions, one species at a time.

Dan Taylor Senior Restoration Specialist
Drew Beamer