On 23rd October, it was announced that 2012 Whitley Gold Award winner, Rodrigo Medellin had received the prestigious Wildscreen Panda Award in the category ‘Discovery People and Nature’ for his inspiring documentary, ‘Bat Man of Mexico’. The Wildscreen Panda Awards are thought of as the ‘Oscars’ of natural history and wildlife film and are awarded biennially. This year, the awards were presented by Monty Halls and Patrick Aryee at a special ceremony in Bristol last Thursday. The Wildscreen Festival played tribute to Rodrigo’s conservation work, stating that ‘Rodrigo is a wonderful advocate of an unlikely animal hero. His passion and knowledge connect the biology and culture of Mexico. An inspiring film’.

The winning film was a BBC Natural World documentary produced by Windfall Films and narrated by WFN trustee, Sir David Attenborough. Described as Mexico’s very own ‘Bat Man’, the documentary tells the story of Rodrigo’s dedication to saving the lesser long-nosed bat whilst following Rodrigo as he tracks the bats on their epic 1,000 mile migration from Southern Mexico to the US border.

Without bats controlling numbers of crop-destroying insects, there would be a lot less food on tables right across Mexico, and without them pollinating the agave plant, there might also be no tequila with which to wash it down!

The lesser long-nosed bat is crucial for the production of the famous Mexican liquor, Tequila – being one of the main species that pollinates the agave plant that the drink is made from. Rodrigo aims to highlight the crucial role that bats play in the ecosystem, the services they provide as pollinators and seed dispersers, and the many threats to their survival.