New monitoring “hubs” will gather vital data to see if bat populations are stabilizing, improving, or declining and inform conservation efforts.
New Monitoring Hubs Will Protect Bats from Emerging Threats, like White-nose Syndrome, in California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico
Funding for new collaborative scientific research will protect the highest bat diversity in the region by understanding if populations are stabilizing, improving, or declining
AUSTIN, TX (Dec. 17, 2020) – Bat Conservation International has received a prestigious grant to lead important research efforts in collaboration with federal, state and academic institutions in California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. New monitoring “hubs” will gather vital data to see if bat populations are stabilizing, improving, or declining and inform conservation efforts. Bats are essential to healthy ecosystems worldwide and provide valuable benefits, including eating tons of insects across the west.
The grant, awarded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, establishes two new hubs in the Pacific West (California and Nevada) and the Southwest (Arizona and New Mexico) as a major expansion of the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat). Both regions have an exceptional diversity of bat species. Arizona, for instance, is home to 28 of the 45 bat species found in the United States.
“One of the greatest challenges to bat conservation is a lack of data to make informed decisions across large areas and diverse habitats,” said Dr. Winifred Frick, chief scientist at Bat Conservation International. “By working closely with partners and coordinating data collection efforts, we will be able to advance bat conservation more quickly and effectively.”
The new NABat monitoring hubs will coordinate and standardize data collection to provide scientists and policy makers with critical information to protect bat populations. To harness the power of partnership in this effort, Bat Conservation International is working closely with state agency counterparts in Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico and with the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The grant expands the NABat collaborative program that formed in 2015 to conduct standardized bat monitoring on a continental scale. Catalyzed by questions that arose because of White-nose Syndrome, NABat is a collaborative effort with active participation in 42 states, six Canadian provinces, and Puerto Rico. It is a continually growing, vibrant community that is providing reliable data to promote bat conservation.
Bat Conservation International has played a pivotal role in NABat from the beginning and will continue this important work through the major expansion in the Pacific West and the Southwest.
Bat populations in the western states where the new NABat hubs will be launched face increasing threats like climate change, habitat loss, and other stressors, not the least of which is the looming invasion of White-nose Syndrome. The hubs will also be critical to monitor this spreading fungal disease that has already killed millions of bats in other regions of North America.
“Conservation professionals and the public are doing great work to understand the health and status of bats all around the country,” said Dr. Jonathan Reichard, national assistant White-nose Syndrome coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “With the launching of two new NABat monitoring hubs in the western U.S., we look to support, strengthen, and expand the efforts and energy of these partners to monitor and protect bats.”
About Bat Conservation International
Founded in 1982, Bat Conservation International has grown into a global conservation organization dedicated to ending bat extinctions. Working together, Bat Conservation International’s goal is to redefine what is possible in global conservation, through the utilization of cutting-edge tools, technology, and training to create a real, measurable impact. There are more than 1,400 bat species worldwide with 242 bat species classified as “data deficient” by the IUCN and in need of research. For more information, visit batcon.org.
Media Contact: Javier Folgar
Tel: 512.327.9721 ext. 410
About the North American Bat Monitoring Program
Launched in 2015, the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) created a continent-wide program to monitor bats at local and range-wide landscapes to provide reliable standardized data that promotes effective bat conservation. NABat is led by U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and members include federal, state and territory agencies in the United States and Canada, local and regional agencies, native tribes, academic institutions, businesses and conservation organizations. For more information, visit nabatmonitoring.org