Tuesday, September 27, 2022


Massachusetts steps up for Puerto Rico, the White House convenes its first hunger conference in more than 50 years, and hydroponics could be the future of tomatoes in California.


Arizona's Sen. Kyrsten Simema defends the filibuster, the CBO says student loan forgiveness could cost $400 billion, and whistleblower Edward Snowden is granted Russian citizenship.


The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts two winters across the U.S., the Inflation Reduction Act could level the playing field for rural electric co-ops, and pharmacies are dwindling in rural America.

Long-Nosed Bats and Agaves: The Tequila Connection


Thursday, July 7, 2022   

The Mexican long-nosed bat population is in trouble, which has prompted a fundraising effort to restore agave plants along their Southwest migrating corridor.

Bat Conservation International (BCI) is collaborating with communities in northeastern Mexico to restore agaves.

Kristen Lear, agave restoration program manager for BCI, said funds raised will support conservation measures to protect agaves, whose nectar is a critical margarita ingredient and also the bats' main food supply.

"Across their migratory range, through the Southwest U.S. and Mexico, we're actually seeing loss of natural agave habitat where these agave plants grow," Lear explained. "Things like expansion of agriculture, grazing by livestock, urbanization."

The Mexican long-nosed bat was one of 10 species listed as imperiled by climate change in a 2021 report by the Endangered Species Coalition. Its populations are estimated to have declined more than 50% in the past 10 years, with only 5,000 bats remaining.

Lear pointed out not just bats benefit from the protection of agave plants, but also the land, biodiversity and human livelihoods.

"People in Mexico use agaves for many, many different things, including mezcal and tequila," Lear outlined. "But they use them for livestock fodder, to build fences and houses. They're just really important plants for the communities."

Bats are the only flying mammal, and long-nosed females migrate north from central Mexico while pregnant to follow the agave blooms to a post-maternity cave in New Mexico's Bootheel.

Ana Ibarra, senior research associate for BCI, said it is hard not to root for a mammal some describe as looking like a "baby chihuahua with a cute nose."

"It's one of those things that, once you get to know them, you learn how fascinating their lives can be; where they live, how they live, what they do," Ibarra observed. "They have some of the weirdest reproductive patterns in the whole mammal group."

Severe droughts in northern Mexico and the Southwest continue to delay blooming times for agave, another disturbance to the bat's historic migration.

Disclosure: The Endangered Species Coalition contributes to our fund for reporting on Endangered Species and Wildlife. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Groups that track disinformation say purveyors sometimes back up their claims by referencing fake "think tanks," or by linking to other pages on their own website. (Feng Yu)

Social Issues

A Nevada democracy watchdog group said social media, blogs, websites and hyperpartisan news organizations are all working overtime to spread …

Social Issues

Education officials in Ohio want state leaders to invest in free school meals for all students. Pandemic-era federal waivers enabling schools to …


Agriculture researchers say if the U.S. wants more farmers to adopt climate-friendly practices, they will need to be offered some proven incentives…

Researchers say if states required more lighting and reflection on farm vehicles, traffic crashes involving this heavy equipment could decrease by more than half. (Adobe Stock)


As the fall harvest season takes shape in South Dakota, an agricultural specialist said there are many ways motorists and farmers can avoid crashes …

Social Issues

Massachusetts residents are being asked to step up, just as they did five years ago, to help their fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. The …

Nearly 640,000 people were considered food insecure in Washington state in 2020, according to the nonprofit Feeding America. (timonko/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

It's been more than 50 years since the White House held a gathering about the effects of hunger across the nation. In 1969, the White House held its …

Social Issues

By Caleigh Wells for KCRW.Broadcast version by Suzanne Potter for California News Service reporting for the KCRW-Public News Service Collaboration Wh…

Social Issues

As the midterm elections approach, there are concerns about whether Latino voters will turn out as much as they have in past elections. In New York…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021