Tequila Makers Help Revive Endangered Bat Species

Posted: Jan 8 2017, 1:49pm CST | by , Updated: Jan 8 2017, 11:39pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Tequila Makers Help Revive Endangered Bat Species
Credit: Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International.
 

The lesser long-nosed bat has recovered so well that U.S. Fish and Wildlife has proposed removing it from the endangered species list.

A bat species has made a resounding comeback after once being nearly extinct and it is thanks to the efforts of biologists, volunteers and tequila makers. The lesser long-nosed bat has recovered so well that U.S Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday has proposed removing the species from the list of endangered species. If the action is finalized, this would be the first bat species ever taken off the U.S. list of threatened and endangered species. 

Lesser long-nosed bat that plays a key role as a pollinator was once reduced to just around 1,000 individuals throughout its range in Mexico and United States. After 30-year long conservation efforts, the bat species has boosted in number and now there are about 20,000 long-nosed bats in their natural habitat.

“Many entities in both the U.S. and Mexico have worked tirelessly toward recovery and this announcement stands as testimony that dedicated efforts and sound management practices can lead to recovery of endangered species.” Jim deVos, Assistant Director of Wildlife Management at the Arizona Game and Fish Department said in a press release.

Long-nosed bat feeds on the nectar of plants like agaves and cactuses unusually grown in the desert region. In turn, the plants rely on these bats for pollination. Tequila beverage is made from the blue avage plant.

For years, southern Arizona residents have monitored night-time habits of bats and provided biologists with a clearer understanding of lesser long-nosed bat migration and other activities. Biologists also captured many bats and attached radio transmitters on them that aided in finding their roost sites. The access of humans to those root sites was also restricted to accelerate their recovery.

These well-coordinated and collaborative efforts are now showing success in long-nosed bat conservation. As a result of reduced threats and increasing lesser long-nosed bat population response, the bat has already been removed from Mexico’s endangered species list in 2015. Recent assessment shows that the bat has recovered to such an extent that it no longer fits the definition of endangered or threatened species under ESA or Endangered Species Act.

“This has been an international team effort involving citizen scientists in Pima County, tequila producers in Mexico, biologists in both the U.S. and Mexico, non-governmental organizations and federal and state agencies, all pulling together under the organizing banner of the Endangered Species Act,” said Arizona Field Supervisor Steve Spangle.

“These collaborative efforts have succeeded in recovering this important pollinator and seed disperser, contributing to healthy soils and habitats, and providing sustainable economic benefits for communities.”

 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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