Address Serious Threats
Cave & Mine Destruction

Cave & Mine Destruction

Abandoned mine, home to bats

Abandoned mines throughout the United States provide homes for more than half of America's bat species – some shelter as many as 1 million bats. Unfortunately, these old mines often pose threats to human safety. While these mines must be managed and the threats to public safety reduced, their loss would be a critical threat to America’s bats. And if mines are closed before being examined for use by bats, the bats can be entombed inside. BCI’s Subterranean Program works to preserve and protect subterranean bats and their habitat.

Despite greater awareness, largely due to BCI’s pioneering Bats and Mines Program, some government and private managers lack the resources to effectively address bats in mines over large areas. Bats, meanwhile, are losing their natural habitat due to human disturbance and urbanization. Noise, light, and, air pollution all take their toll on bats, and transportation and energy infrastructure can pose additional hazards.

However, bats have one man-made resource that they have come to rely on: Abandoned mines. Our Subterranean Program allows us to shine a light on these often unknown habitats, and facilitate solutions that both protect the public from dangerous abandoned mines, and provide the best chance for bats to continue to use these crucial habitats. How do we do this?

BCI works with diverse partners to conduct internal and external mine and cave assessments and targeted research to identify the most important abandoned mines and caves used by bats, and to address the relative threats posed to humans and bats by recreational or incidental human access to these subterranean environments. We also partner to install bat-friendly mine and cave gates and to conduct workshops and educational outreach events.

Increased understanding among land managers and the general public is the path to sustainable conservation of bat roosts in mines and caves: we protect what we value. To that end, we collaborate with key partners to develop and implement outreach and training events and publications. These include public presentations, mine- and cave-assessment workshops, gate-construction workshops, and publications on managing mines and caves for bats.

Our specific operational capabilities can be found here.

Operational Capabilities
The BCI Subterranean Program provides a wide range of services and technical capabilities to meet subterranean conservation goals worldwide.
  • Abandoned Mine Survey - Uranium, Coal, Hard Rock
  • Seasoned Experience, International Reach
  • Vertical Access - Shafts, declines, and winzes
  • Adits - Partially collapsed, timbered and untimbered, dry to flooded
  • Internal Mapping and Habitat Survey
  • Field Photography / Videography
  • Gating - Assistance with prioritization, design, and construction / implementation of all types of bat gates and bat-compatible closures.
  • All-Terrain Reach - Our field teams are capable of extended backcountry access, via 4WD, ATV, ski/snowshoe, and rugged off-trail travel.
  • Precision - Accurate characterization and documentation of cave and AML sites on the landscape. 
  • All-season field capability.
  • Remote Acoustic Monitoring - Soundscape and Species Diversity Analysis
  • Policy Development and Study Design
  • Management Plans - Research, Design, and Implementation
  • Mist Netting - Live capture and bat identification.
  • Radio tagging and telemetry tracking


Focal Species

Bat Conservation International’s Subterranean Program improves the conservation and management of all bats that roost in mine and cave habitats, or are threatened in some way by the potential loss or disturbance of these resources. However, some species need extra attention:

Further Reading

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