Nectar-feeding lesser long-nosed bats were attracted to a hummingbird feeder in southern Arizona.
PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Spitzer/U.S. Fish and Wildlife/AP via Washington Post
Recently, scientists have taken the long-nosed bat off the U.S. endangered species list. This bat has been endangered for the past 30 years due to the expansion of human settlements which has destroyed their main food source: agave. In 1988, it was on the brink of extinction with fewer than 1,000 bats accounted for. Following some immense efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservationists, there are now an estimated 200,000 long-nosed bats.
“They will go down in history as the first bat species to be removed from the endangered list.” ~ Washington Post
Conservationists worked with agave farmers to ensure that a certain percentage of their plants would be allowed to flower so as to sustain the bat’s primary food source. While hundreds of species have been added to the endangered species list since the 1970s, fewer than 50 have ever been removed.
This great news comes in the midst of Earth’s sixth mass extinction crisis, with 30,000 species being driven to extinction each year (or three species per hour).