A review of the major threats and challenges to global bat conservation
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Bats are an ecologically and taxonomically diverse group accounting for roughly a fifth of mammalian diversity worldwide. Many of the threats bats face (e.g., habitat loss, bushmeat hunting, and climate change) reflect the conservation challenges of our era. However, compared to other mammals and birds, we know significantly less about the population status of most bat species, which makes prioritizing and planning conservation actions challenging. Over a third of bat species assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are considered threatened or data deficient, and well over half of the species have unknown or decreasing population trends. That equals 988 species, or 80% of bats assessed by IUCN, needing conservation or research attention. Delivering conservation to bat species will require sustained efforts to assess population status and trends and address data deficiencies. Successful bat conservation must integrate research and conservation to identify stressors and their solutions and to test the efficacy of actions to stabilize or increase populations. Global and regional networks that connect researchers, conservation practitioners, and local stakeholders to share knowledge, build capacity, and prioritize and coordinate research and conservation efforts, are vital to ensuring sustainable bat populations worldwide.