A key goal of WFN is to encourage collaboration and knowledge-sharing among our winners to enable joined-up conservation action across countries and continents.
Throughout 2011 and into 2012, Whitley Award winners, Rodrigo Medellin (Mexico, 2004), Luis Aguirre (Bolivia, 2007) and Bernal Rodriguez-Herrera (Costa Rica 2012) joined forces to build capacity for bat conservation across Latin America through the creation of the Latin American Bat Conservation Network (RELCOM). This highly succesful and collaborative initiative is now coordinating bat conservation efforts across 19 Latin American countries and is continuing to expand following the recent joining of Nicaragua and Honduras.
An important new concept for managing bats using Important Bat Conservation Areas (AICOMs) is backed by scientific research, and supports locally-led conservation of protected areas. In December 2012, Rodrigo and Bernal travelled to Kenya with RELCOM colleagues to share their expertise and discuss replicating the successful approach of AICOMs in Africa. The pair attended the African Bat Conservation Summit which brought together 39 people from 18 African countries who will facilitate the process of creating the African Bat Conservation Network – a movement that will go a long way to securing greater protection for Africa’s bats.