Rodrigo Medellín, also known as “The Bat Man of Mexico”, has received notable recognition in the public eye for identifying a crucial effect the potential extinction of the long-nosed bat would have on our environment and consequently, us: No more tequila!
Medellín is a renowned ecologist and conservationist who has set his focus on the incredible long-nosed bat, a natural pollinator of the blue agave plant and unfortunately, a threatened species. Tequila, among other substances like agave syrup, is extracted from this plant, whose crops are threatened in Mexico due to the great presence of monoculture farming, an agricultural method of growing a single crop on a very large scale. Monocultures are extremely susceptible to dangerous fungi and bacteria because of their lack of diversity, which was evident when fungi wiped out the populations of blue agave plants on farms across Mexico. However, Medellín’s commitment to his furry friends enabled the agave plant to begin to thrive again after he convinced farmers to let the plants pollinate before cutting the flowers, even though cutting them before pollination the agave plant yields sweeter nectar. His involvement with the Tequila Interchange Project has raised awareness of the decline of many bat species in a relatable, entertaining fashion. He has been able to catch the attention of tequila-lovers and tequila-haters alike, especially since towards the end of the year, “bat-friendly” tequila will be hitting the shelves. If nothing had been done, the long-nosed bat population would have diminished, leading to a chain of disastrous effects on our environment, such as diminishing populations of other species along the bat food chain. Our advancements in agricultural practices and tendencies towards habitat destruction are very real negatives to the Anthropocene, and people like Rodrigo Medellín have fortunately realized this, and have taken up the great responsibility for the benefit of mankind.