Bat Conservation International is partnering with the New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources on a four-year collaborative effort to locate, monitor, and safeguard roosts.

09.07.21
Townsend’s Big-eared Bat roosting in Gold Stake Mine, Coleville National Forest, Washington. Photo by Michael Durham/Minden Pictures

New collaborative agreement will protect roosts in New Mexico

New Mexico contains around 15,000 abandoned mine features. Some of these are home to the more than 20 species of bats that live in the state. Now, Bat Conservation International is partnering with the New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources on a four-year collaborative effort to locate, monitor, and safeguard roosts.

“Now more than ever, the roosts that bats are using in abandoned mines, or that they might use in abandoned mines, fit in perfectly with Bat Conservation International’s strategy of building resilience across the landscape for bats in the face of climate change,” says Bat Conservation International Director of Habitat Protection and Restoration Jason Corbett. “Many abandoned mines exist in New Mexico, and great ecological diversity is found across the state, so it’s the perfect place for us to double down on our effort for roost identification and protection.”

Townsend’s Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) is the bat species most commonly found in the state’s abandoned mines, though numerous other species are also seen, including Cave Myotis (Myotis velifer), Fringed Myotis (Myotis thysanodes), and Allen’s Big-eared Bat (Idionycteris phyllotis).

Bat Conservation International has collaborated with the state of New Mexico for decades, but this formal four-year agreement will allow even greater cooperation, especially when working with abandoned mine features.

“The New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources has been such a wonderful partner over the years,” Corbett says. “They have a really hard working and dedicated staff that understand the importance of bats.”

The new agreement will involve Bat Conservation International conducting biological surveys, using tools like LIDAR to assess abandoned mine structures, and conducting wildlife management.

Learn more about our work on abandoned mines.