There is probably no greater need for educational materials about bats than in Latin America where fears of vampire bats lead to the annual destruction of millions of beneficial bats [BATS, Spring 1991]. To help raise awareness about the approximately 250 species of bats in Latin America, BCI recently produced its first Spanish
-language audiovisual program, "Los Murcielagos de America Latina" (The Bats of Latin America).
Available in both slide/tape and video formats, the program covers bat diversity, diets and lifestyles, vampire bat identification and control, and information on the importance of bats to local economies and diverse ecosystems. Two hundred copies are being donated to appropriate groups and institutions throughout Latin America. Funded by the World Wildlife Fund, the Janelia Foundation, the W. Alton Jones Foundation, and the Chicago Area Rainforest Action Group, the program is expected to introduce many thousands of Latin Americans to bats each year.
BCI is also helping to solve problems with vampire bats through another educational piece. With a grant from Avinet, Inc., a major U.S. distributor for the mist nets used to capture bats, BCI produced a comprehensive Spanish-language brochure on the identification and control of vampires. The brochure will be distributed by Avinet to all purchasers of bat nets in Latin America as well as through BCI's long list of contacts. Both the audiovisual program and brochure will lay the groundwork for future BCI projects in Latin America.