The need for educational materials about bats is urgent in Latin America, especially in Mexico, where misdirected vampire control efforts are a primary threat to tens of millions of bats that migrate south from the United States each winter. BCI has produced several Spanish-language educational tools for use in Latin America, and more are planned.
Over 100 copies of BCI's slide program, "Los Murcielagos de America Latina," have been distributed throughout Mexico, Central and South America, and border states in the United States. The program, also available on video, is an introduction to the ecological importance of local bat faunas. It also emphasizes that only one kind of vampire, the common vampire, feeds upon livestock. In addition, a how-to brochure on vampire control is being distributed by Avinet with each sale of mist nets for vampires in Latin America. The brochure explains how to capture, identify, and effectively control vampire bats without harming beneficial species.
Additional materials, directed primarily at livestock ranchers and conservation planners, are in the works. A comprehensive 30-minute video program on vampire control will be available this fall. Look for details in the next issue of BATS, as well as a report on a major educational initiative in northern Mexico sponsored by BCI.
Write to Janet Tyburec at BCI for a complete description of all the Spanish-language educational materials available. Members are encouraged to help us identify individual needs for such materials. Members can also help by making a donation of these materials to various institutions and educators. Even a small contribution can go a long way in benefiting Latin American bats and the ecosystems they support.