Thursday, June 10, 2010

Biodiversity without boundaries conference in Austin, TX

CNHP Botanist Susan Panjabi and Director Dave Anderson attended the Biodiversity Without Boundaries Conference, hosted by NatureServe, in Austin Texas in April. Susan gave a presentation on the Rare Plant Conservation Initiative and Dave gave a panel presentation on the Biodiversity Scorecard Project. It was a great chance to get to know others from around the network of heritage programs! And they had a great time exploring Austin too.

One thing Austin is famous for (besides its music scene) are its bats! The evening emergence of 1-2 million Brazilian Free Tailed Bats from the bridge on Congress Avenue has become famous and hundreds of people come to see this spectacle every night.

bats flying from under bridge
Bats emerging from the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin

About an hour south of Austin is Bracken Cave. This cave is home to over 20 million Brazilian Free Tailed Bats and is the single biggest congregation of mammals on Earth (except perhaps Tokyo?).

lots of bats
The bat exodus from Bracken Cave on April 25, 2010

This cave is on private property that is owned by Bat Conservation International who carefully manages the property and controls visitation. The bat emergence from this cave is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the animal world. Below is a video of the emergence on April 25th, taken by Dave Anderson:

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