We are happy to share the top six ways we were able to show up for and even celebrate our bat friends in need this year.
What a year! But not one without important milestones that you made possible for bats around the world. Bats need our help now more than ever, and we are happy to share the top six ways we were able to show up for and even celebrate our bat friends in need this year.
- Protected Stony Hill Cave in Jamaica. We worked with the National Environment and Planning Agency and other partners to conserve Stony Hill Cave, the last known maternity roost for the critically endangered Jamaican flower bat (Phyllonycteris aphylla). In collaboration with our Jamaican-based partners, we continued to develop strategies to protect this critically important site as well as identify other conservation priorities on the island. This year, thanks to your continued support, we developed a joint agreement to acquire the cave and expect to finalize it in the New Year to provide long-term protection for this important species.
- Raised the bar for habitat protection and restoration. We scaled up our critical work to safeguard abandoned mines and undertake valuable habitat restoration work on public lands across the United States as part of major, new agreements with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Department of Energy. Through these multi-year partnerships, we will work on important bat conservation projects across 13 states and hundreds of millions of acres of public lands. Also, we are excited to enhance our relationships with federal partners and engage in important roost protection, restoration, compliance, and a suite of other conservation activities.
- Signed new conservation agreements across northern Mexico to sustain the migration pathways of nectar-feeding bats. Our agave restoration goal is to protect and enhance existing agave habitats and encourage the growth of new agave stands to facilitate and sustain a biological corridor for these bats in Mexico and the southwestern United States. This year, new partners included eight rural communities signing 10-year conservation agreements to promote healthy agave populations and protect important areas that will be managed with bat-friendly practices while also promoting community development and resilience.
- Pioneered new and expanded support for America’s most imperiled bat. With our boots on the ground in Miami, we are making real, tangible differences for the Florida bonneted bat. We recently installed more detectors to expand our acoustic grid and better understand the bat’s distribution and habitat use in Miami-Dade County. We also designed and installed three new bat boxes to analyze thermal quality for climate resilience. Currently, Florida bonneted bats are using more than 60 percent of the roosts we installed. We also rallied thousands of community members to stand with bats against the siting of the #RecklessMiamiWilds development on environmentally sensitive lands and will continue to vigorously challenge this location. We will not back down.
- Launched major expansion of North American bat monitoring. We launched 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 as part of a major expansion of the groundbreaking North American Bat Monitoring Program. Bats are essential to healthy ecosystems worldwide and provide valuable benefits, including eating tons of insects across the west.
- Grew global capacity for bat conservation. We continued to grow global capacity for bat conservation with scholarships and support for 14 students. We also created three new distinctions for our Student Scholars program; the Thomas H. Kunz Innovation in Bat Research Honor, Promoting Diversity in Conservation Award, and the Conservation Evidence Special Recognition. We are looking forward to announcing our new Student Scholars in the new year so stay tuned!
From Cueva del Diablo in Mexico to Bracken Cave in Texas, we couldn’t protect this extraordinary mammal without your support. You are making a critical difference for bats. Please join us in celebrating these important achievements to end bat extinctions worldwide. Sending gratitude and warm wishes for you and your loved ones this holiday season.