Bat City USA
is a compelling documentary about how a city overcame its fear of one of the world's most misunderstood creatures and now heartily embraces them, largely thanks to the efforts of one man.
A giant colony of Mexican Free-tailed bats moved into an Austin, Texas bridge in the 1980’s after a reconstruction project created an ideal roosting habitat. The “bat invasion” launched a media hoopla and alarm among residents worried about bat attacks and rabies. When the city threatened to exterminate the bats, a zealous conservationist named Merlin Tuttle stepped in and fought to save them. Tuttle, a bat researcher at a Milwaukee museum, moved to Austin, which he called the epicenter of “worldwide bad bat publicity”, and founded Bat Conservation International to promote a positive image of bats.
To overcome local opposition, he worked tirelessly to change public perception of the bats—from scary disease carriers to desirable creatures who help keep moths and mosquitos in check, among other environmental benefits. As a pioneering bat photographer whose images were published in National Geographic, Tuttle used his striking photos as one important weapon in his battle for the bats.
Thanks to Tutttle’s efforts, Austin now loves its bats. Thousands of tourists annually are drawn to the downtown setting for a fascinating, close-up glimpse of the world’s largest urban bat colony – nearly one million bats.Preview link available upon request. Contact [email protected] for more information