Over millions of years, caves and karsts have been slowly eroding away Bonaire’s limestone interior, leaving behind a network of tunnels and chambers, critical in supporting Bonaire’s only native mammal: six species of bats.

Most of Bonaire’s cave systems has been documented and protected as part of the Bonaire Cave and Karst Nature Reserve, In addition to being an important landscape feature, these caves have been used for hundreds of years as areas of refuge, storage, for religious rituals, art expression and exploration.

During a 2021 study by Wildconscience and STINAPA, researchers found over 4,600 individual bats from six different species throughout the caves of Bonaire. In fact, all caves examined during the two to four years of monitoring had bats, stressing the importance of this habitat for the only native mammal population.

Photo credit: Fernando Simal

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