Scientists and conservation groups in both Mexico and the U.S. have worked together over the years towards recovering the lesser long-nosed bat.


Bat Conservation International (BCI) shares in the excitement surrounding U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement regarding the removal of the lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) from the U.S. endangered species list.

Courtesy of Tom Vezo/Minden Pictures

The delisting of the lesser long-nosed bat marks the first time a bat species has been removed due to population recovery. This represents a critical conservation win and gives us hope that implementing proper conservation measures can result in real change for imperiled species.

The lesser long-nosed bat was first protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1988, when less than 1,000 individuals at 14 known roosting sites were identified. Today, there are an estimated 200,000 individuals at 75 known roost locations in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico. Dr. Rodrigo Medellín, a Senior Professor at the Instituto de Ecología, UNAM, as well as a member of BCI’s scientific advisory committee, spearheaded recovery efforts in Mexico, where the species was removed from Mexico’s equivalent of the endangered species list in 2015. We are pleased to see the United States follow suit.

BCI is proud to work alongside our partners to create positive change for this and other imperiled bat species across the United States and abroad. Roost disturbance and destruction are primary threats to the lesser long-nosed bat, and BCI’s Subterranean Team has been instrumental in identifying new roost sites, working closely with federal and private partners to ensure habitat protection.

Our current agave restoration initiative will build upon this proven conservation success and assist in recovering the populations of other imperiled nectar-feeding species, like the binationally endangered Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis). By enhancing the nectar trail for these species, we are utilizing proven on-the-ground solutions to create real, tangible change for these bats.

It is critical to recognize that delisting a species does not mean removal of its protection. While this news certainly represents a win for bat conservation, BCI will work closely with our partners to assist in the monitoring of the species post-delisting, ensuring that this bat continues on its recovery trajectory.

“The story of the lesser long-nosed bat shows that conservation and science can work together to provide species the chance to recover and persist,” says Chief Scientist at Bat Conservation International, Dr. Winifred Frick. “Scientists and conservation groups in both Mexico and the U.S. have worked together over the years toward recovering these bats, it’s an exciting success story for collaborative conservation efforts and the Endangered Species Act.”

A win for bats is a win for us all. We must use this conservation achievement to fuel further efforts to protect the lesser long-nosed bat, as well as all bat species, from the threat of extinction.