A bat and one of Monterrey's new bat houses. A bat and one of Monterrey's new bat houses.

Bat houses are part of Monterrey rescue plan

City involved in international program to rebuild bat populations

The bat population in the city of Monterrey used to be in the millions, but their numbers today are significantly lower. However, a non-governmental organization is determined to change that.

Biodiversidad Urbana en Monterrey (Urban Biodiversity in Monterrey), or BUM for short, intends to install small bat houses in strategic locations with a project called Bats in the City.

One of the team leaders, Nayelli Rivera Villanueva, told the newspaper Milenio that the installation of the houses in urban areas does not pose a risk for the population because the small mammals do not carry rabies nor will their droppings become a health hazard.

Rivera explained that one effect of the decline in the bat population is an increase in the number of insects such as mosquitoes that carry viral diseases including zika and chikungunya. The growth of urban areas, pesticides and attacks on bats by people who consider them vermin are given as reasons for the declining bat numbers.

Starting in February, Bats in the City will install the first 10 bat houses following a model that has already proved effective in revitalizing the species in the United States, Brazil, Spain and Italy.

BUM and its initiative have earned the support of the international NGO The Pollination Project, which is providing funding, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Studies (ITESM) and the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL).

Rivera said Monterrey will pioneer the conservation project in Mexico. It is one of a select group of cities around the world that will participate in it.

Another of the goals of Rivera and partner Samantha Dalaí is to raise awareness about the importance of bats in pollinating plants, consuming insects and spreading plant seeds.

Mexican bat specialist Rodrigo Medellín describes the mammal as the world’s most important.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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