IUCN bat expert wins prestigious conservation award
11 May 2012 | News story
Many congratulations to Rodrigo Medellín, co-chair of the IUCN SSC Bat Specialist Group, who has been awarded the 2012 Whitley Gold Award, donated by The Friends of Whitley Fund for Nature, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to conservation.
Rodrigo received his award from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) during a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society, London, on 9th May, 2012. For the first time, the Whitley Gold Award has been presented to a previous Whitely Award winner in recognition of Rodrigo’s continued conservation efforts to protect bats and other animals in Mexico since receiving a Whitely Award in 2004.
“There is arguably no one who has done more for the conservation of bats in Latin America than 2004 Whitley Award winner, Rodrigo Medellin,” said Sir David Attenborough, wildlife broadcaster, during a film shown at the ceremony. “His pioneering work to highlight the vital role that bats play in the ecosystem, and their importance to people’s lives, has had a tremendous impact on the way bats are perceived in his native Mexico and beyond.”
In areas where Rodrigo’s conservation action has been put into place bat populations have invariably remained stable or even increased, and due to Rodrigo’s dedication, the Lesser Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) will be the first ever species to be removed from Mexico’s Federal List of Endangered Species.
The success was achieved through research and strong conservation education programmes that have presented bats in a more positive way and made people aware of their value. Similar projects have been established in Bolivia, Costa Rica and Guatemala to good success and the Latin American Network for Bat Conservation has also been established.
The Whitley Gold Award is accompanied by £30,000 project funding which Rodrigo will use to continue his conservation work. Upon receiving the award Rodrigo said “This Award gives me an additional reason to strive and surpass anything I’ve done before.”
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