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Explorers Who Are Turning Bat Perceptions Upside Down

Learn about the work of five Explorers who want to change the perception of bats from scary creatures to a valuable species worth protecting.

Who has beady eyes, sharp fangs and loves the dark? Bats! To celebrate Bat Week, which takes place from October 24 through October 31, we’re sharing the work of five Explorers who think there’s more to these nocturnal creatures than what meets the eye. Learn about the work of biologist and photographer Merlin Tuttle, ecologist Edward Hurme, biologist Priscilla Alpízar, conservationist Kristen Lear and the Bat Man of Mexico himself, National Geographic Explorer-at-Large Rodrigo Medellin.

First up is Merlin Tuttle, who has devoted his life to studying, demystifying and helping conserve bats. Watch this archival footage from the 1985 National Geographic Explorer special Merlin’s Bats to see how he started using photography as a tool to show their gentle nature and inspire bat conservation worldwide.

Did you know that there are bats that eat fish? Ecologist Edward Hurme studies the movement of Mexican fish-eating bats through audio recording and GPS tracking. The data he and his team collect provides fascinating new insights into the world of bats.

Photo by: Stefan Greif

Costa Rican bat biologist and Explorer Priscilla Alpízar is passionate that her conservation efforts are not complete without education. She complements research with educational programs to encourage local conservation for bats. Watch this video to hear how she changed how kids saw bats in their own backyards.

Explorer Kristen Lear’s love for bats started at a young age. Now as a bat conservationist, she is dedicated to developing meaningful solutions to bat conservation challenges around the world. Kristen is also involved in outreach and educational activities about bats—even leading hands-on bat walks and bat house building workshops!

Photo Courtesy of Kristen Lear

Explorer-at-Large Rodrigo Medellin, also known as the Bat Man of Mexico, links research, conservation and education to preserve bats and their environment. Watch this video to hear three important reasons why he thinks we all should appreciate bats more.

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About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.