Long-Nosed Bat May Come Off Endangered Species List

Published: Thursday, January 5, 2017 - 1:13pm

(Photo courtesy of Bruce D. Taubert - Bat Conservation International)
The lesser long-nosed bat is an important pollinator of plants in the American Southwest.

The tequila in your margarita may taste a bit sweeter now that an animal critical to its production may no longer be considered endangered.

Mexican tequila producers depend on a creature called the lesser long-nosed bat to pollinate agave plants, the source of tequila.

The bat population has increased from fewer than 1,000 nearly three decades ago to more than 200,000 today across the southwestern United States and Mexico.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the increase is sufficient to recommend the animal be taken off the federal endangered species list. If that happens it will be the first bat delisted from the endangered list. Mexico delisted the bat in 2015.

The agency credits the tequila producers for making their harvest and cultivation processes bat friendly for the population turnaround.

INTERACTIVE: Timeline Of Arizona's Threatened And Endangered Species

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