November 2, 2017
Alejandra Goyenechea

Four bats species and six marine species were just granted protected status by the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) at their 12th Conference of the Parties (COP 12) held in Manila.

Working for Migratory Species Protections

The CMS is a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) convention that brings together countries for international cooperation of conservation measures and sustainable use of migratory species and their habitats.

This year, more than 120 Parties and over 500 delegates and observers to the CMS gathered in the Philippines for COP 12, “Their Future is Our Future – Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People,” which meets every three years. Aside from the historic victory for migratory species protections, this year’s conference was also the first time the CMS held a meeting in Asia.

Defenders of Wildlife attended the meeting to advocate and support proposals to list six marine species including: whale sharks, dusky sharks, blue sharks, angelsharks, guitarfish white spotted wedgefish. Defenders also advocated for Peru’s proposal to list four Lasiurus species of bats in Appendix II.

In collaboration with the CMS Secretariat, the World Wildlife Fund and Eurobats, Defenders presented a side-event on Green Energy, and Conservation of Migratory Bats. The presentation centered around Peru’s proposal to list four migratory bat species threatened by factors including, climate change, habitat loss and largely by wind energy production.

Making History

Defenders was thrilled when the Parties to the CMS announced the adoption of the listing proposals for all four migratory bat species and all six marine species!

The listing of the four bat species, the hoary, southern yellow, eastern red, and southern red bats (all Lasiurus bats), is a huge success because these bats are greatly affected by wind energy. This new international collaboration, adoption and recognition will promote responsible wind energy and reduce one of the biggest threats facing these migratory bats.

Although the United States, Canada, and Mexico are not Parties, we hope this CMS listing will:

  • increase awareness of wind energy’s impact on migratory bats, especially amongst decision-makers,
  • prompt research into these poorly-studied species,
  • catalyze additional formalized protections,
  • spur development and implementation of technologies to reduce fatalities of bats caused by wind turbines, and
  • elevate the issue of bats and wind energy so that we can persuade corporate power purchasers, who are cautious of reputational risks, that there is value to bat-friendly wind.

In addition, the adoption of the listing proposals for the six marine species brings hope for increased concerted efforts and international cooperation. Without these measures, many of these shark populations would continue to decline past the point of no return.

Defenders of Wildlife will now work with the governments involved and other partners to follow up on the next steps for implementing the necessary actions for these marine and bats species. We look forward to leveraging the listing of bats species in particular, as a wake up call to the entire wind energy industry regarding the urgent need to take swift industry-wide action to conserve these susceptible bat species.

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Alejandra Goyenechea headshot

Alejandra Goyenechea

Senior International Counsel
Alejandra Goyenechea's primary focus is in CITES, CMS, RFMO's, wildlife trafficking and other international wildlife conservation issues, with an emphasis on Latin America.

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