Address Serious Threats
The Threats That Bats Face

The Threats That Bats Face

Bat Conservation International is committed to protecting the world's 1,300+ bat species, and this commitment starts with addressing the most serious threats that present themselves in our home region of the United States and Canada. Since the organization's founding in 1982, BCI has helped to mitigate threats to hundreds of bat colonies and dozens of species in this region. This includes safeguarding the Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) found under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, protecting the critical gray bat (Myotis grisescens) colony in Fern Cave, Alabama, and of course purchasing and managing the property surrounding the world's largest bat colony at Bracken Cave, located just north of San Antonio, Texas. Over time, new and extremely daunting threats to bats have emerged, like White-nose Syndrome and wind energy development. Addressing the new and the chronic threats requires BCI to remain vigilant and proactive in our strategies, and although the challenges continue to mount, our commitment has not wavered.

Perhaps BCI’s longest running conservation initiatives are those efforts focused on protecting specific colonies of bats and abating threats at known roost sites (e.g. caves, abandoned mines, bridges, etc.). BCI’s work across the region to acquire, gate, or otherwise protect key bat roosts from destruction or disturbance has been a mainstay of our conservation mission. We will continue to pursue these successful tools, while we work to develop new tools and reduce other critical threats to bats in the United States and Canada. For more information about BCI's efforts to address the threat of cave and mine roost destruction, click here.

Wind turbines in the United States and Canada have killed over two million bats in the past 13 years, and wind production in this region is on the rise. Twenty-one of the 47 bat species known from the US and Canada have been killed by wind turbines, mostly migratory tree-roosting species. For more information about BCI's efforts to address the threat of wind energy to bats, click here.

For bats that hibernate in caves and mines, White-nose Syndrome (WNS) is an urgent threat. The disease has killed more than 6 million bats since it was discovered in 2006, and is rapidly spreading westward across the continent. As many as 25 of the 47 species found in the United States and Canada could be at risk. For more information about BCI's efforts to address the threat of White-nose Syndrome, click here.

In the arid American West, climate-induced reductions in drinking water availability for wildlife are a major concern for maintaining stable bat populations. Promoting improved management of water resources and forestry practices that consider bat foraging and roosting requirements is critical to bat conservation. For more information about BCI's efforts to address the threat of water scarcity for bats, click here.

Partnerships are a key strategy for reducing threats to bats. We have strong partnerships with many of our federal and state agencies responsible for managing millions of acres of public land, through which we provide tools, resources and information to manage bat habitat for lasting conservation. Our collaboration with the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative has led to meaningful research suggesting practical solutions to reduce bat mortality. We are heavily invested in the WNS recovery effort and provide resources and funding toward finding solutions and slowing the spread of the disease.

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