- Ensure Mexican Free- tailed Bat population at Bracken Cave is protected and healthy
In 1992, we purchased Bracken Cave and the surrounding 4.7 acres of land to protect the largest colony of bats in North America. Over 30 years later, through a series of additional land purchases, that small initial acreage has grown by more than 300% into our 1,458-acre Bracken Cave Preserve.
Together, we co-manage 3,462 contiguous acres of rugged Texas Hill Country with The Nature Conservancy. This protected wild space is 20 miles east of San Antonio and less than 10 miles from Interstate 35, amid one of the most rapidly urbanizing highway corridors in the United States. We have secured a meaningful buffer between the bats and the nearby growing human population, and developed a preserve that will serve as a home to the plants and animals that are native to the Texas Hill Country.
We purchased more than 1,400 acres to create the Bracken Cave Preserve. The Nature Conservancy also dramatically aided the bats through a 1,521-acre purchase of neighboring land. For over a decade, BCI has been monitoring Bracken Cave annually for the fungus that causes White-nose Syndrome and as a result of this monitoring BCI detected Pd, the fungus that causes the disease in February 2019. By 2025, with partner organization support, we aim to encourage a natural fire regime for Bracken Cave Preserve resulting in reduced need for prescribed burns.