Safeguarding the last refuge of the Jamaican Flower Bat

Bat Conservation International - 12064

The discovery of Jamaican flower bats roosting at Stony Hill Cave in Jamaica’s northeastern corner in 2010 came as a surprise: the species hadn’t been seen in nearly two decades and was presumed extinct. One of the only known roosts for the surviving 250 adults of the species, Stony Hill Cave may be the Jamaican flower bat’s final refuge. Though Stony Hill lies beneath a scrubby, undeveloped parcel, it was privately owned. Were the land ever to be developed, consequences for the Jamaican flower bat would likely be disastrous. That concern is now greatly reduced: Bat Conservation International (BCI) purchased Stony Hill Cave in early 2019. BCI is now working to lay groundwork for the future of the cave’s management and protection of the critically endangered Jamaican flower bat and other resident cave species in collaboration with Jamaica’s National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). Bats play an important role in our global environment. Some plants depend partly or wholly on bats to pollinate their flowers or spread their seeds, while other bats also help control pests by eating insects. Over the next five years, BCI will assist NEPA with identifying and gathering the essential knowledge it will need to successfully protect vulnerable bat habitat and species. That work includes identifying population distributions and habitat use of the Jamaican flower bat and several other at-risk bat species, such as the critically endangered Jamaican greater funnel-eared bat and the vulnerable Jamaican red bat. The teams will also work to identify key threats to foraging and roosting habitat—housing developments, farming, mining, logging and invasive, non-native predators are just a few of the threats bats face in Jamaica. “Developing a management plan along with our Jamaican partners applies beyond Stony Hill Cave,” says Kevin Pierson, BCI’s Chief Conservation Officer. “There are many more bats to talk about, and the work at this cave is a tangible first step to do a whole lot of other conservation on the island.

Charity Name
Bat Conservation International
Photo Caption
Jamaican Flower Bat
Photo Credit
Bat Conservation International