Bat Conservation International’s mission is to conserve the world’s bats and their ecosystems to ensure a healthy planet. Based in Austin, Texas, BCI is devoted to conservation, education and research initiatives involving bats and the ecosystems they serve. It was founded in 1982, as scientists around the world became concerned that bats, which are crucial for maintaining the balance of nature and the health of many human economies, were in alarming decline. Under the founding guidance of Dr. Merlin Tuttle, an internationally recognized authority on bats, the organization achieved unprecedented progress by emphasizing sustainable uses of natural resources that benefit both bats and people.
BCI now employs a staff of more than 30 biologists, educators and administrators, supported by members in some 60 countries. BCI’s educational achievements include major television documentaries, such as The Secret World of Bats, and award-winning exhibits that continue to reach millions of people each year. Its publications and audiovisual programs empower thousands of BCI members and partners to greatly extend the organization’s philosophy and mission.
BCI’s conservation efforts have resulted in permanent protection for many of North America’s most important remaining bat caves, saved millions of bats from being accidentally buried during mine-safety closures and led to creation of the first national park in U.S. history to protect a tropical rainforest. BCI has sponsored research documenting the key roles of bats in major ecosystems, supported training for graduate students in 62 countries, and trained hundreds of wildlife managers from more than 20 countries in bat-management and conflict-avoidance techniques.
Today, BCI is expanding its bat conservation goals and, through its growing worldwide partnerships, is multiplying the impact of every dollar invested.
But much remains to be done as we educate increasingly urbanized generations to appreciate and protect the natural world. BCI has proven that bats and people can live together in harmony, with great mutual benefit. Bats are an irreplaceable and invaluable natural resource that simply must be conserved. Nevertheless, they still rank among the world’s most misunderstood and endangered wildlife. Hence, BCI’s continuing mission.