Our staff study San Diego’s bats to protect them from disturbance and habitat loss in urban areas. When bridges need widening, when ponds must be drained, when old buildings must come down, bats are at risk of losing their roosting habitats and food sources. By studying which species are present on construction sites and military bases, we help determine the best course of action for everyone involved. We rarely notice them, but bats are all over the county—eating bugs, pollinating our plants, and providing food for raptors and snakes. Our researchers are looking out for them and the (sometimes surprising) places they call home.
The Nat is working to reconnect the fragmented homeland of one of America’s most elusive mammals. Ringtails are cat-sized, bushy-tailed relatives of raccoons, found in Arizona and Southern California’s rocky wildlands. Unfortunately, much of their habitat in San Diego County is crisscrossed with highways, and many end up as roadkill. In alliance with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, Caltrans, and the U.S. Forest Service, we are tracking their movement and behavior so we can connect their habitats with wildlife corridors and reduce car strikes. These animals are fully protected, but poorly understood—no one knows if their populations are shrinking as development continues, but we’re not waiting around to find out.