A Talk on the Wild Side.
|Conservation leaders from Canada, Mexico and the United States sign the historic bat conservation Letter of Intent. Photo by Chris Tollefson/USFWS|
We share hundreds of species with Mexico and Canada, and coordinate conservation activities with these neighboring partners on many of them, including monarch butterflies, migratory birds, and many more. But until now, comprehensive coordination for one group of animals has fallen noticeably short: bats. For the first time in history, with the signing of a “Letter of Intent” at this week’s Canada/Mexico/US Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management, we have official coordination on the conservation of North America’s bats.
|MORE FROM THE TRILATERAL|
North American bats, many of whom migrate across international boundaries, face many threats:
|A maternity colony of Ozark big-eared bats in a cave at Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Richard Stark/USFWS|
Certainly, we already do coordinate with our neighbors on many bat conservation issues. We work closely with Canada to respond to white-nose syndrome and with Mexico to conserve endangered Mexican and lesser long-nosed bats. We also invest directly in partner-led bat conservation projects in Mexico through our Mexico Program, including environmental education activities, capacity development, and community-based population monitoring and habitat conservation.
This Letter goes beyond all efforts to date, and tells everyone that the three countries will strengthen cooperation, coordination and information-sharing related to the conservation and management of all (more than 150!) bat species in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
|Bats emerge from Davis Cave in Texas. Photo by Ann Froschauer/USFWS|
Bats are hugely important. In addition to pollinating many plants, including some commercially valuable crops, bats also eat a lot of insect pests that disturb crops, forests and us! In the United States alone, bats are estimated to save us at least $3 billion per year in pest control services.
We -- Canada, Mexico and the United States -- are determined to keep it that way, and commit to doing what it takes to help them survive.