BCI and the USFWS are partnering to welcome a cohort of participants to the MENTOR-Bat Program.

06.07.24

This year, BCI and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are partnering to welcome a cohort of participants to the MENTOR-Bat Program, which aims to address significant threats to bat populations and their habitats.

Cohort and partners meet in Colombia, spring 2024. Photo by MGamba-Rios.

The MENTOR-Bat Team is composed of cohorts from Cameroon, Indonesia, and Colombia, each comprised of one mentor and three fellows.  The program is an 18-month commitment, with start date in April 2024 and end date in September 2025.  The Program incorporates experiential learning in the field, direct mentorship, virtual learning, and participation in existing bat conservation, One Health and USFWS MENTOR networks, and working groups. The cohorts receive resources, training, and mentorship to empower and grow capacity to identify threats and practical solutions for protecting vulnerable bat populations and advancing One Health priorities:

  • Managing risks of human-bat interactions in caves
  • Reducing bat persecution
  • Reducing hunting for bat meat and trade
  • Promoting effective communications and outreach

“The main objective of the MENTOR-Bat program is to strengthen technical and leadership capacity in early-career conservation leaders of Cameroon, Colombia, and Indonesia so they can promote healthy environments where bats and people can coexist sustainably.
—Dr. Luz A. de Wit, BCI Director of One Health

The program is designed to have a lasting impact on the participants’ careers and the broader field of bat conservation. “We expect the MENTOR-Bat team to become experts on developing evidence-based conservation projects and on communicating strategies and findings to a variety of audiences, from policymakers to the scientific community, and funders to communities who experience high levels of contact with bats and rely on ecosystem services provided by bats,” de Wit says.

The MENTOR-Bat Fellows will benefit from academic and field-based training, which combines online and in-person workshops to gain experience in several topics, including local and global bat conservation, environmental economics, field methods, adaptive management, and science communication and outreach training.

“MENTOR-Bat’s transdisciplinary team of conservationists—with backgrounds in veterinary science, virology, public health, caves and culture, and bat research—will add new capacity to bat conservation to creatively address threats and implement One Health solutions for the well-being of humans, bats, and ecosystems,” says Daphne Carlson (DVM, PhD), who is the Head of the USFWS Division of International Conservation.

Meet The cohorts

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