Migratory species provide diverse ecosystem services to people, but these values have seldom been estimated rangewide for a single species. In this article, we summarize visitation and consumer surplus for recreational visitors to viewing sites for the Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana) throughout the Southwestern United States. Public bat viewing opportunities are available at 17 of 25 major roosts across six states; on an annual basis, we estimate that over 242,000 visitors view bats, gaining over $6.5 million in consumer surplus. A better understanding of spatial mismatches between the areas where bats provide value to people and areas most critical for maintaining migratory populations can better inform conservation planning, including economic incentive systems for conservation.
Additional publication details
Tourism values for Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana) viewing
Human Dimensions of Wildlife
Taylor & Francis
Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center