In these days of globalization, when all are concerned about global climate change, transgenic organisms, and violence, it is important to get back into reality and in contact with the natural world. Bats, the cosmopolitan group of flying mammals that is also the most ecologically and morphologically diverse mammalian order, provide a wonderful opportunity to integrate all humans around the planet in a global effort to protect and recover biological diversity, as well as to educate the world’s population about these extraordinary animals that have very deep, crucial links to our well-being and contribute significantly to a high-quality standard of living. No other group of animals is so unfairly treated in the world, given their very beneficial impact on both natural ecosystems and human life.
|© Nick Edards|
This initiative is opening doors and crystallizing efforts around the world. In September 2010, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species and the Agreement of the Conservation of Populations of European Bats launched Year of the Bat 2011 - 2012. The global awareness-raising species campaign, which is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme, will promote bat conservation, research and education about the world’s only flying mammals. With the backing of founding campaign partners including Bat Conservation International, the Lubee Bat Conservancy and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Year of the Bat will focus public attention on the key role bats play in global eco-systems, such as rainforests.
|© Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org|
- Offering courses and workshops on bat ecology, conservation, rehabilitation
- Printing posters, children’s storybooks, stickers, fieldguides
- Giving lectures, visiting schools, talking to decision makers about the need to incorporate bats into management plans and other conservation actions.
Many more actions can and certainly will be carried out. We have a chance to make the Year of the Bat into the turning point we have all been fighting and working for for decades. It is waiting for us around the corner. Let’s work all together now.
Reprinted in English from the Latin American Network for Bat Conservation (RELCOM) autumn 2010 bulletin. To read the original article and other RELCOM news in Spanish, please visit the Year of the Bat website. Many thanks to Year of the Bat Ambassador Dr. Rodrigo Medellin for highlighting the beneficial impact of bats and the opportunity to join hands across borders to bring new attention to bats and act now for bat conservation.