Mezcal's popularity is trending upwards and this is bad news for Mexico's bats. This strong alcohol is made by distilling the sugars of the spiky desert Agave plant. The lesser long-nosed bat in particular depends upon the night-blooming plant's nectar as a food source. In turn, the plant depends upon the bat to pollinate the flowers.
With more and more agaves being harvested the gains made in rebuilding these endangered bat populations may be lost. Fortunately, organization such as Colectivo Sonora Silvestre are working on sustainability measures that will help both the bats and the mezcal industry to survive.
Selective harvesting of the agaves where some mature flowering plants remain untouched is a promising plan. Even leaving 5% of a crop unharvested makes a difference to the feeding bats and in turn the mezcal producers earn the right to call their product bat-friendly with an accompanying label. We say cheers to the solution!