BCI announced today the launch of an agave planting initiative throughout Southwest, Tucson area, and Mexico to support the lesser long-nosed bat

Image: Dan Taylor / Bat Conservation International.

TUCSON, AZ (April 18, 2019) Bat Conservation International (BCI) announced today the launch of an agave planting initiative throughout Southwest, Tucson area, and Mexico to support the lesser long-nosed bat, a frequent Tucson area visitor, and the federally-endangered Mexican long-nosed bat. These bats need wild agave foraging habitats throughout the bat-nectar corridor that extends from central Mexico to the southwestern United States.

The plantings will occur at six different locations with the first planting event happening on April 26th at Pima Countys Paseo de las Iglesias ecological restoration. Four more sites will be planted on April 27th, including Sanctuary Cove, Pima Countys Isabella Lee Reserve, the Tucson Audubon Societys Mason Center, and Audubon and the City of Maranas El Rio Preserve. Tucson Audubon will plant the last site, the International Refugee and Literacy Connects pollinator garden, on April 30th. The plantings will also be completed with the assistance of several partners including Borderlands Restoration Network and the Gila Watershed Partnership.

The event coincides with the Tucson Agave Heritage Festival, an annual city-wide, ten-day destination event in Tucson that spotlights the southwest region through the lens of the agave plant. The festival is held April 23rd through May 5th and includes various culinary, cultural, educational, and spiritual events that celebrate the agave and the Tucson area.

Both the lesser long-nosed bat and endangered Mexican long-nosed bat are vital migratory pollinators and nectar feeders whose survival is dependent on wild agave.

Agave that are not planted for agricultural reasons are important throughout the southwestern United States, Mexico and South America because the plant spends its lifespan storing sugars to prepare for growing a beautiful flowering stalk. The stalk serves as a food source for migrating bats as they follow the pattern of flowering northwards along their path.

BCI is planning a ten-year agave planting initiative to combat the mounting pressures on wild agave populations, which include harvesting for the tequila and mezcal industries, climate change, and development.

Were thrilled to complete this agave planting for the lesser long-nosed and Mexican long-nosed bat, two important pollinator species, said Dan Taylor, BCI Director of Habitat Conservation and Restoration. These bat species need fully matured flowering agave in order to feed and to serve their important pollinator role. We hope to boost the wild populations of agave while still appreciating the role of the tequila and mezcal industries and other agricultural users of this amazing plant. Thanks to our donors such as XTO Energy and the Bently Foundation, the amazing Tucson Agave Heritage Festival, and our incredible volunteer network were able to help these bats with important agave restoration efforts.

BCIs agave restoration efforts involve coordination with a range of partners, a network of volunteers, and biologists who provide guidance on the most impactful plantings locations.

About Bat Conservation International

The mission of Bat Conservation International is to conserve the worlds bats and their ecosystems to ensure a healthy planet. For more information visit batcon.org.

Media Contact: Javier Folgar
Bat Conservation International
Tel: 512.327.9721 ext. 410
Email: jfolgar@batcon.org