Here at Blue Iguana Tequila, every sip, shot or nip of our high quality tequila revolves around the consensual sex of the Mexican long-nosed bat and the 15 foot stalks of blue agave. Each stalk blooms with candelabra-shaped flowers which open at night wafting a rotten fruit smell, seducing bats to drink from its nectar and coat themselves with pollen. While transferring pollen from one flower to the next, these bats are acting as a surrogate sexual partner pollinating each plant, during their migratory season. Blue agaves, then, are entirely dependent on the seasonal pollination of these bats. It is important that we maintain a healthy, sexy ecosystem, for without the transference of pollen from bats, we wouldn't have agave at all.
When each agave is harvested, it is replanted along the migratory corridor of the Agave bat, as well as the longer and lesser-long nosed bats (which are both in danger of extinction), for without the deep kiss of these bats, tequila, one of Mexico’s primary exports would not exist. No tequila?!?!?! If there was ever a reason to protect the environment, this is it.
And, though tequila may not be originally a Mexican invention, (as it was the Spaniards who developed tequila as we know it today) Mexicans have always made fermented drinks from the agave, and today it remains one of its top exports. Surely it should be of top priority to maintain the habitat of agave bats as well as the sustainable cultivation and harvesting of agave.
A few years ago, a scientist by the name of Rodrigo Medellin, noticed that the bat population in Mexico was in serious decline and therefore so, too, was your favorite spirit. During those years, Mexico was hit by two major hurricanes, one after another, both along the migratory route of the Agave bats, and the bats began to disappear. Were they in hiding? Did they find new shelter? Did they die? Medellin and his team of scientists went looking for the bats, themselves. And to their luck, they were able to find small groupings of bats where they did not normally congregate. Thankfully the bats had survived the storms and were regrouping for the continuation of their migration.
However, there are still many man-made reasons for the decline of the bat itself. It is important that we identify their roosting sites, and protect them. That we educate jimadores (agave ranchers) about bats and help them to understand their importance to the ecosystem, mainly that they are not generally a threat to human life. Many jimadores worry that bats can carry diseases such as rabies and therefore are a threat to humans. They have, at times, gone on major killing sprees to rid the area of “dangerous” bats. But, in reality, rabies is a very uncommon occurrence, nor major human threat, and the mass destruction of bats for the ‘protection’ of humans is threatening the population of agave as well as the bat populations in general.
It's becoming increasingly important for scientists to work with the jimadores to save this sexy ecosystem and continue the production of our favorite libation: Blue Iguana Tequila.