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Bat Patrol

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Farmer's Friend

Farmer’s Friend
Photograph by Merlin Tuttle

Preserver of the world’s largest colony of Mexican free–tailed bats—20 million strong—Merlin Tuttle, founder of Bat Conservation International (BCI), photographs their nightly emergence in summer from Bracken Cave near San Antonio, Texas. BCI, based in Austin, purchased Bracken in 1992. Human access is now strictly limited, and BCI is establishing a nature reserve around the cave. Freetails leave Texas to overwinter in Mexican caves, where millions have been burned, poisoned, and dynamited by villagers fearful of bats. In 1994 BCI and partners in Mexico established the Program for the Conservation of Migratory Bats. Now a growing number of caves in Mexico are protected, and school programs expose children to the beneficial nature of bats.

Camera: Canon EOS 1N
Film Type: Kodachrome 64
Lens: 100mm, F4 macro
Speed and F-Stop: 1/140 @ f/18
Weather Conditions: Not recorded
Time of Day: Not recorded
Lighting Techniques: I used an infrared beam and three Olson flash heads.

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