New Report Shows “Miami Wilds” Development on Environmentally Sensitive Lands Threatens Federally Endangered Florida Bonneted Bat with Extinction Miami-Dade Board of …
New Report Shows “Miami Wilds” Development on Environmentally Sensitive Lands Threatens Federally Endangered Florida Bonneted Bat with Extinction
Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners Voting Oct. 20 on Proposed Water Park and Entertainment Area Project
MIAMI, FL (October 9, 2020) – Bat Conservation International (BCI) released a report documenting the critical importance of the land alongside Zoo Miami for survival of the Florida bonneted bat. Construction of the Miami Wilds Development on this environmentally sensitive area would threaten the federally endangered species with extinction.
Using acoustic monitoring, BCI determined the area proposed for development is the most critical foraging area for the species in South Florida. During 105 nights of monitoring, BCI noted the presence of Florida bonneted bats more than 98 percent of the days. This constitutes heavy, consistent use of this site by one of the rarest and most endangered species in the country.
“The highly endangered Florida bonneted bat is clinging to existence in urban Miami,” said Mike Daulton, Executive Director at BCI. “Our research shows the Zoo Miami grounds are like a safety net preventing the species from plunging into permanent extinction. Destroying this area would be an environmental disaster. We urge the Board of County Commissioners to follow the will of the voters and avoid this environmentally sensitive site. This vote should be delayed, so the commission can consider alternative sites for the Miami Wilds development. They have hundreds of options for potential sites. There is absolutely no reason to sacrifice this crucial stronghold for one of the world’s most endangered species.”
The acoustic study included 10 sites across Miami-Dade County that were deemed by experts to be likely to support Florida bonneted bats. Zoo Miami stood out as by far the most important site. Twice as many bat calls were detected at Zoo Miami than the other nine sites combined.
Characteristics at this site that contribute to its importance include being a large open space, little to no artificial lighting, the low physical profile of the area, and its proximity to the biologically rich endemic Pine Rocklands habitat.
The planned project is in direct opposition to a 2006 Miami-Dade voter referendum which allowed for the development and operation of an entertainment area, with the condition the project was not built on “environmentally sensitive” lands. The planned development not only threatens the highly endangered Florida bonneted bat, which is endemic to South Florida, but also threatens rare Pine Rockland habitat, and other endangered species such as the Miami tiger beetle, the Florida leafwing and Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterflies.
On Oct. 20, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners is scheduled to vote on leasing Zoo Miami lands to Miami Wilds to develop a private water park and entertainment area.
For more information about this project and it’s impacts to the Florida bonneted bat, CLICK HERE.
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