United States, Mexico and Canada Sign Cooperative Bat Conservation Agreement

Little Brown Bat

Little Brown Bat. Photo by Ann Froschauer/USFWS

In a groundbreaking move, the United States, Mexico and Canada have agreed to increase coordination and cooperation in the conservation of bats across North America.

Bat Conservation International reports that representatives from the three countries signed the “Letter of Intent Related to Efforts to Promote Conservation of Bats in the United Mexican States, the United States of America and Canada” on Thursday April 16th, as a part of the annual meeting of the Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management at the Hilton San Diego Mission Valley.

The agreement will allow conservation efforts to cross international boundaries like never before, as scientists, wildlife managers and conservationists alike try to address some of the threats affecting bat species in North America today.

This is a historic day for North American bats as they face threats far greater and widespread than they ever have before. Continental collaborations are more important than ever as white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed more than six million bats since 2006, continues to move across political boundaries devastating bat populations in its wake.

It is not only the threats that are continental. Several U.S. endangered bat species cross international boundaries, and this agreement provides a formal avenue for coordinating conservation across countries for range-wide species recovery. Mylea Bayless, Bat Conservation International Senior Director for US/Canada Conservation

Besides increasing the dialogue between the three counties, the agreement is also expected to facilitate expanded population monitoring programs which will result in more reliable information about the status, distribution and population trends of North America’s bats.

By signing this agreement, we are cementing a collaboration that will foster cross-boundary collaboration on multiple bat conservation efforts including the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) and the North American Bat Conservation Alliance (NABCA). Bats do not obey political boundaries so monitoring and conservation efforts should not be limited by these boundaries. Laura Ellison, U.S. Geological Survey

The timing of this historic news couldn’t be better with April 17th being Bat Appreciation Day across North America.

[via Bat Conservation International]

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