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Mezcal's Popularity not Good for Bats (7) More files...
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!
Lesser Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) flying at night, approaching Agave flower to feed, North America  -  Tom Vezo
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00221216 Lesser Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) flying at night, approaching Agave flower to feed, North America© Tom Vezo
Coastal Agave (Agave shawii) in bloom, San Benito Island, Baja California, Mexico  -  Tui De Roy
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00143450 Coastal Agave (Agave shawii) in bloom, San Benito Island, Baja California, Mexico© Tui De Roy
Agave (Agave americana protoamericana) in a forest of Oak trees, Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, Mexico
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90757775 Agave (Agave americana protoamericana) in a forest of Oak trees, Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, Mexico© Jack Dykinga
Coastal Agave (Agave shawii) blooming, Cedros Island, Pacific coast, Baja California, Mexico  -  Patricio Robles Gil/ Sierra Madr
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00590280 Coastal Agave (Agave shawii) blooming, Cedros Island, Pacific coast, Baja California, Mexico© Patricio Robles Gil/ Sierra Madre
Agave (Agave sp) and Texas Silverleaf (Leucophyllum frutescens), Mexico  -  Patricio Robles Gil/ Sierra Madr
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00590106 Agave (Agave sp) and Texas Silverleaf (Leucophyllum frutescens), Mexico© Patricio Robles Gil/ Sierra Madre
Lesser Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) feeding on Agave nectar, North America  -  Tom Vezo
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00221218 Lesser Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) feeding on Agave nectar, North America© Tom Vezo
Cedros Island Agave (Agave sebastiana) blooming, Cedros Island, Baja California, Mexico  -  Richard Herrmann
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00550763 Cedros Island Agave (Agave sebastiana) blooming, Cedros Island, Baja California, Mexico© Richard Herrmann
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