Preserve Bat Hot Spots
Bat Conservation International recognizes both the immense conservation value and the inherent vulnerability of areas where extraordinary numbers of distinct bat species are present.
These areas present great value and are deserving of conservation due to their uniqueness and their habitat’s ability to support vast numbers of species with differing ecological processes, along with the efficiency of being able to protect so many species in a single effort.
It is also important to avoid tragedies of the commons, by overlooking species or areas because of their apparent abundance. This is especially important in the case of bats because small areas of abundance, with high numbers of species or large populations can also be extremely vulnerable to catastrophic events or the emergence of new threats due to the compact, colonial-roosting nature of many species.
To preserve these vital “bat hot spots,” BCI will seek out opportunities to leverage its conservation impact by identifying and protecting landscapes of high ecological integrity with high bat species diversity.
BCI's progress toward this initiative will depend heavily on availability of and access to existing data and the advancement of new technologies to locate bats and determine species identifications. Sixty million years of evolution have produced more than 1,300 bat species, and although approximate ranges are known for most species, exact roosting locations, migration and hibernation behaviors, and foraging patterns are not well understood, thus making it extremely challenging to document accurate species distributions.
Furthermore, as a gauge to the urgent need for additional bat research and conservation efforts, the IUCN lists 203 bat species as “data deficient,” meaning there is simply too little information known about these species to even label their conservation status, much less pinpoint their locations in relation to other species. Further, there are also at least another 150 bat species newly described and do not even have a species account on the IUCN Red List.