Development Will Disrupt the Florida Bonneted Bat’s Critical Roosting and Foraging Habitat in Miami-Dade County.
Miami Wilds’ Water Park & Hotel Threatens the Rarest US Bat with Local Extinction
Development Will Disrupt the Florida Bonneted Bat’s Critical Roosting and Foraging Habitat in Miami-Dade County
Miami, FL (September 4, 2020) – Bat Conservation International announced today the organization’s strong opposition to Miami Wilds, a planned water park and hotel development in Miami, Florida, that directly threatens the federally endangered Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus).
The proposed project, slated for review by the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Committee on Sept. 11, is located on Zoo Miami grounds and an area that contains the second largest fragment of globally critical endangered Pine Rockland habitat.
“This bat-killing project risks the permanent, irreversible extinction of one of the most endangered mammals in the United States,” said Mike Daulton, Executive Director at Bat Conservation International. “We strongly object to this project’s poorly-conceived proposed location and request the developers find another area that does not destroy rare habitats critical for species survival. The habitat in and around Zoo Miami supports the second-largest known population of the highly endangered Florida bonneted bat, and destruction of this vital habitat would be devastating.”
This habitat offers roosting sites for dozens of the bats, and the zoo’s parking area functions as an important area for the bats to forage on insects and have natural social interactions. The habitat also supports endangered and threatened plant species as well as the gopher tortoise (Gopherus Polyphemus), Miami tiger beetle (Cicindellidia floridana), and the rim rock crown snake (Tantilla oolitica.)
In late 2018, Bat Conservation International and other organizations installed six custom roosting boxes on the Zoo Miami grounds to support the species recovery. Within the following six months, all six roosts were occupied by Florida bonneted bats. Thanks to this effort, today, the area represents the second-largest known population of the bat across its entire range. BCI spearheaded research on the Zoo Miami grounds in 2019 and confirmed in earlier reports that the area is a critical roosting and feeding area for the Florida bonneted bat and other endangered and threatened species.
The Miami Wilds project was already dismissed in 2014 due to environmental concerns, including threats to endangered species. Now it is under consideration again by the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Committee with a review of the project on Sept. 11, 2020, and vote by the full Board of County Commissioners on Oct. 6, 2020.
About Bat Conservation International
The mission of Bat Conservation International is to conserve the world’s 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