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About Us

Our mission: inspiring bat conservation worldwide

Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation (MTBC) is Dr. Tuttle’s most recent contribution to the world of bats. With over 60 years of experience studying and photographing them, he has led conservation efforts internationally for decades. It was through the global impact of his unique photography and communication that people first began to appreciate bats as safe, invaluable, even cute, and likable. He founded and led Bat Conservation International for 30 years, then retired. But requests for his unique photos and experience followed him, leading to the founding of MTBC. His efforts are now supported solely through MTBC. Our goal is to extend Merlin’s invaluable legacy for use by future conservationists wherever most needed. No one has better demonstrated the power of combining captivating photos with sound science to win friends instead of battles. Nor has anyone better demonstrated how conservation, even of traditionally feared animals, can benefit humans.

The Current Problem

Bats comprise one-fifth of the world’s mammal species and are globally essential to environmental health. Nevertheless, they are in alarming decline. In the U.S. and Canada, millions are dying from an introduced fungus. And millions more die annually in the U.S. alone from careless use of wind turbines. Worldwide, countless bats are lost due to cave disturbance and destruction, and some have even become extinct due to overharvesting. Like all life on earth, bats are increasingly threatened by habitat loss and climate change. However, unlike most animals, they are easily misunderstood and victimized by exaggerated disease speculation, leading to deliberate eradication campaigns with disastrous consequences. Because most bats rear just one pup per year and live in large colonies, they are especially vulnerable to extinction.

Why We Must Act Now

Bats are the primary controllers of vast numbers of night-flying insects. Single colonies can consume tons of crop pests nightly, and they pollinate and carry seeds for many of our planet’s most important plants. If bat decline is not reversed, we could face dire consequences such as billions of dollars of agricultural and forestry losses in single countries, dramatically increased reliance on pesticides that can cause cancer and dementia, increased threats from mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile and Malaria, and loss of billion-dollar-a-year crops for lack of bat pollinators.

Hope For The Future

Merlin has repeatedly demonstrated the power of education. His successes on behalf of traditionally misunderstood and persecuted bats are unprecedented, providing a model of hope for the future. His work and legacy have never been more important. We provide clear, science-based explanations to dispel fear and help people benefit from conserving bats. Once people understand the value of bats, most voluntarily become enthusiastic protectors. When thousands of bats began moving into newly created crevices beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, misinformed health officials warned they were mostly rabid and dangerous. Fearful citizens began signing petitions to have the bats eradicated. But when Merlin put fears in perspective and explained bat values, the bats were protected. Today, 1.5 million are enthusiastically welcomed. They attract millions of tourist dollars each summer, consume tons of insect pests nightly, and have harmed no one. Austin is now proud of its bat-friendly fame.

Testimonials

Team

Merlin D. Tuttle

Founder & Executive Director

Merlin started his bat career as a teenager, has done field research on every continent where bats live, photographed hundreds of species, founded and led Bat Conservation International for 30 years (retiring in 2009) and has been a key force in changing the way the world perceives bats. Merlin is comfortable crawling deep into caves, lugging equipment through tropical jungles, or standing on a stage introducing the world to the Secret Lives of Bats. 

Teresa M. Nichta

Operations ManageR

Teresa’s core responsibility is managing Merlin’s extensive photographic collection. She manages social media, video production, field planning, development, correspondence and all things in between.

Alejandro Silveyra

Web Developer

Alejandro focuses on Merlin Tuttle’s website development as well as other behind-the-scenes software matters.

Marla Gostisha

Member Services
Manager

Marla manages donor records and office administration. She is a competitive tennis player and enjoys cycling and photography.

Danielle A. Cordani

Conservation Projects
manager

Danielle provides expertise in bat biology, addressing conservation issues, and generating excitement about protecting our favorite winged friends!

Judy Curran

BookkeepeR

Judy is responsible for collecting, recording, and interpreting MTBC financial information. She lives to travel, exercise, and read.

Duncan Hicks

Administrative Assistant

Duncan provides administrative support to the MTBC team. He enjoys reading, listening to and playing music, and watching motorsports.

Board of Directors

Dr. Michael Ryan

Clark Hubbs Regents Professor in Zoology, The University of Texas at Austin.

Linda Moore

Linda was the Director of Administration and Finance for Bat Conservation International for 28 years (retired in 2013). She now serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation’s Board of Directors.

Jeff Acopian

Jeff Acopian has a lifelong dedication to conservation, and for more than 25 years he has been a staunch supporter of Merlin’s bat conservation efforts. Jeff is an electrical engineer and Vice-President of Acopian Power Supplies (www.acopian.com).

Dr. Rachel Page

Rachel Page conducted postdoctoral research as a Humboldt fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Seewiesen, Germany. Page has been a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama since 2009. Her research focuses on behavior, sensory ecology and predator-prey interactions in bats.

Mark Bloschock

Mark Bloschock participated in the Congress Avenue Bridge expansion that led to occupation by the now famous bat colony. He currently serves as Director of Maintenance Operations at VRX, Inc. and lectures nationally and internationally on highway safety as well as on his award-winning accomplishments creating habitat for bats in bridges.

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