A brief review of some of BCI's accomplishments in the last six months...
North American Bat Conservation Partnership (NABCP)
- Awarded $50,009 for the 14 most important conservation projects submitted for 2001. Partners matched this funding 8 to 1, bringing the total value to $401,987. The projects range from studies of bat refuges in California's giant sequoias to the gating of an Alabama cave that will protect a key, bat-dependent cave ecosystem.
- Established major artificial bat roost experiments on forest lands in Oregon and Minnesota in partnership with several state and federal agencies and private corporations. Tests at approximately 25 sites will help address how artificial roosts can be used by wildlife managers to enhance habitat for forest-dwelling bats, especially while habitat is being restored where natural tree roosts have been lost.
- Cosponsored the Indiana Bat Sym-posium in Lexington, KY, with the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of Kentucky, the Northeast Bat Working Group, and the Southeast Bat Diversity Network. Held from March 29 to April 1, participants gathered to investigate and address the causes of this endangered species' continuing decline.
- Completed the second year of analysis of data on critical roosting requirements for endangered Indiana bats and submitted a paper for publication in the proceedings of the Indiana Bat Symposium.
Latin American Initiatives
- Sponsored the second Agribats Work-shop, held November 15-17, 2000. Eleven researchers from seven U.S. and Mexican universities met in Monterrey, Mexico, and began developing economic models that document the impact of bats in controlling corn earworm moths. The results will play an essential role in promoting bat conservation by emphasizing the enormous economic benefits of bats to North American agriculture.
- Worked with the National Program of Reforestation in Tamaulipas, Mexico, to plant agave plants to prevent soil erosion statewide. Approximately 70,000 seedlings are already being cultivated and will be planted soon. Tequila production has stripped agaves from large areas, and this now threatens the survival of endangered long-nosed bats that rely on agave flowers for food during migration.
Bats & Mines Project
- Conducted joint surveys with the National Park Service of 37 mines in Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks and Mojave National Monument. BCI recommended bat-friendly gating of approximately 20 openings. These mines shelter 10 bat species, including the California leaf-nosed bat (Macrotus californicus), a sensitive species.
- Hosted "Bat Conservation and Mining: A Technical Interactive Forum" in partnership with the Office of Surface Mining, November 14-16, 2000. More than 110 people attended from state, federal, and private agencies, learning about the importance of mines as bat habitat, and how to close mines with bat-friendly gates to protect both bats and people.
Bat House Research Project
- Added nearly 50 new bat houses through a partnership with the Cayman Islands Bat Conservation Program, the Caribbean Utilities Co., Ltd., and the island's prison workshop. The houses will provide roosts for more than 7,000 bats. Approximately 20 houses are now occupied, one with a colony of more than 400 bats.
Bats and Buildings
- Consulted with Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, on how to provide alternative roosts for approximately 50,000 bats that created a nuisance by roosting in a campus parking garage. Two large bat houses are currently being tested to help displaced bats and, if successful, more will be added.
Global Grassroots Conservation Fund
- Educated communities near San Pedro Sula, Honduras, through EDUECO, a conservation organization led by Jaime Bustillo and Suyapa Dominguez. The group is working to preserve bat populations in agricultural communities. To date, they have visited 26 schools reaching 915 students and 26 teachers, and have broadcast their conservation message via radio some 1,050 times.
- Provided advice and partial funding in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Mlup Baitong, a local conservation organization, to educate schoolchildren about the roles of bats in Cambodia's ecology and to protect more than a million bats of four species roosting in the National Museum of Cambodia. Although bat droppings have damaged treasured artwork in the past, sales of the guano have also paid salaries of the museum staff. Repairs to the museum's structure will now protect both bats and artwork.
Education and Scholarships
- Teamed with Enron engineers to help establish a bat-oriented network among the science faculties in Houston's private schools, including the Kinkaid School. The Kinkaid campus includes nearly four acres of pristine habitat along Buffalo Bayou, an area that will now serve as an important testing site for BCI's bat house research project. Advanced biology students are currently working with Enron to equip the houses with dataloggers and peeper cameras.
- Awarded $54,617 in research scholarships to 23 students in 15 countries. Projects range from evaluation of bat dependence on old-growth redwoods of the U.S. Northwest, to bat habitat needs in Panamanian cloud forests.
- Educated more than 2,500 Austin, Texas, school children through BCI's fall internship program. Intern Julie Jenkins visited 28 schools and delivered 67 presentations using the "Kids Discover Bats" video. Children learned to appreciate the benefits of bats and to "look but not touch."
- Teamed with the Sierra Club to gain legislation to protect Texas bat colonies from exploitation by wild animal dealers. Bryan Sybert, Natural Resources Director of the Sierra Club, worked with BCI's Barbara French and representatives from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to write the bill. Co-sponsored by State Senator Jeff Wentworth and Representative Edmund Kuempel, the bill passed in May and prohibits hunting or selling bats without a permit.
- Granted interviews to: 62 newspapers, 43 magazines, 18 television stations, 11 radio stations, and 14 Web sites. Print features reached more than 23 million readers of publications from Audubon to National Geographic (Spanish edition), while broadcasts included National Public Radio, and bat segments in the new IMAX film, Journey into Amazing Caves. Web features included ABCnews.com.