Bat Conservation International, Inc.

Rating: 4.76 stars   21 reviews

Issues: Animals, Environment

Location: PO Box 162603 Austin TX 78716 USA

Mission: Bat Conservation International’s mission is to conserve the world’s bats and their ecosystems in order to ensure a healthy planet.
Programs: Bracken Cave in the Texas Hill Country is the home of the world’s largest mammal colony—twenty million Mexican Free tail bats migrate to the site every year. Bracken Cave is on BCI-owned property and access has been limited to research staff and VIP guests for decades. The site is featured in the National Geographic documentary Strange Creatures Of The Night, the National Geographic’s Kids website and was the focus of a Kratt Brothers “Be the Creature” episode.  The Nature Conservancy identifies Bracken Cave as the world’s largest colony of mammals and the director of Boston University’s Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology calls Bracken Cave “one of the great wonders of the world.”   Bracken Cave is a maternity colony, one of the safe havens for these bats to have their single pup each summer. Adult bats weigh no more than two quarters and yet they are capable of flying at great altitude and traveling long distances. Seen individually, each bat is a marvel of engineering--and quite appealing with soft fur and tiny ears. Bears, eagles and buffalo are iconic American mammals, but a visit to Bracken inspires guests to add bats to the list.    

Bracken’s acres are gradually becoming a showplace of natural, Hill Country habitat in the midst of suburban development, and the millions of young bats at Bracken will benefit from having the best conditions possible as they first learn to fly and feed. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy of Texas, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we have developed a comprehensive plan for habitat restoration and management. This plan is based on decades of combined experience, including three years of on-site experimentation in which restoration approaches (and the cost and feasibility of volunteer and contracting options) have been tested. Decades of fire prevention and overgrazing have allowed an unnatural proliferation of ashe juniper which increasingly deprives young bats of required feeding opportunities and threatens the reserve’s diverse wildlife. Surrounding lands are being engulfed by urban sprawl, contributing to the urgency of our restoration efforts.

While the day to day work of clearing juniper isn’t glamorous—the wildflowers that are flourishing in the open spaces are quite spectacular.   The re-establishment of native grasses, oaks, and wildflowers in a mosaic of habitats throughout the Bracken Nature Reserve property is most notable in the springtime. Some of the native species of flowers and grasses we have planted at Bracken probably haven’t been seen in this part of the hill country in decades. Habitat restoration and management is a long-term and costly commitment, but one that is vital to protecting our planet’s largest remaining community of mammals.    Bracken’s acres are gradually becoming a showplace of natural, Hill Country habitat in the midst of suburban development, and the millions of young bats at Bracken will benefit from having the best conditions possible as they first learn to fly and feed. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy of Texas, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we have developed a comprehensive plan for habitat restoration and management. This plan is based on decades of combined experience, including three years of on-site experimentation in which restoration approaches (and the cost and feasibility of volunteer and contracting options) have been tested. Decades of fire prevention and overgrazing have allowed an unnatural proliferation of ashe juniper which increasingly deprives young bats of required feeding opportunities and threatens the

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 74-2553144
512-327-9721
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

They are a wonderful group of bat experts from around the world that work together to help conserve bats. They offer training programs and grants to help bats. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department stated they are bats experts. BCI and Fish & Wildlife Services are currently the two main bat expert groups who are helping bats with White Nose Syndrome.

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2013

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Rating: 2 stars  

I joined BCI in the mid nineties and they were wonderful back then and for many years. Their work was commendable and I always knew where my money was going when Merlin Tuttle was at the helm. However, I have not seen the same leadership or quality of work since his departure. I hope this changes in the near future. It would be a shame to see Tuttle's amazing life work, and all the good he did for bats, go the way of fat pay checks for staff now. Very disheartening.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 4 stars  

Love their work. My one comment for staff: wish you were better at thanking people... I did a birthday fundraiser that raised almost $1000 which I then matched, and I got a form letter almost 4 months later, nothing else. A small thing, but it mattered to me how hard I worked to get that gift; it should matter to your development staff, too.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

Bat Conservation International is an evidence-based, highly effective organization working to halt the destruction of bats by habitat loss, environmental damage, and ignorance. Their research and educational activities are desperately needed now that chemically-dependent agriculture is failing so spectacularly and mosquito-borne diseases are spreading further and further from the equator.

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2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

BCI has opened me up to a world I didn't really know about: how important bats are to ecosystems all over the world. I love the educational work they do and I enjoy supporting an organization that does so much with the dollars it receives.

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2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

Most people think it's strange to champion bats, but Bat Conservation International is helping combat that. This wonderful organization has helped me educate many friends and family members, who, like so many, believe all the terrible myths about bats. When BCI first started, they chose Austin, TX, as their base of operations because a colony of bats was roosting under the Congress Avenue Bridge, and people, reacting from fear, were killing the bats. Rather than approach this with hand-wringing woe, BCI instead took an educational approach. And now the Congress Ave. colony is a tourist attraction! If only all organizations could be so effective. They are also wonderful about responding to members, and I've received several personal emails from the president and others. Bat Conservation has my continued support in all that they do.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

White-Nose Syndrome is a major epidemic for bats. (WNS) is a poorly understood disease associated with the deaths of at least 5.7 million to 6.7 million North American bats. Without the dedication of Bat Conservation International, I would not have known the severity of the situation. Bats are critical to our ecosystem, they kill billions of bugs (pests) each year. We need BCI to continue to educate the public on the importance of bats. I support BCI annually, I'm grateful for the work they are doing!

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I love the work this organization has done to try and save bats. From education and awareness to helping find a cure for White-Nose Syndrome. I've learned a lot from their outreach and hope to volunteer for them when I get the chance. I am proud to be a member and have no concerns when I donate to them.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my new education about bats and resources I can use to help others.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make the website more user friendly. I had issues finding things.

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