Thanks to a 13-Year-Old San Fernando Valley Resident, the California Legislature Approves Designation of the Pallid as the Official State Bat
SACRAMENTO – Senate Bill 732, introduced by Senator Caroline Menjivar (D-San Fernando Valley), designates the Pallid as the official state bat of California. It has been approved by the California Legislature and now heads to Governor Newsom’s desk to await his signature. The goal of SB 732 is to bring awareness to the beneficial role bats play in our state and to inspire future conservation efforts for this under-protected category of animals.
“By naming the Pallid as state bat, Californians can become more knowledgeable on our diverse ecosystems and wildlife while increasing respect for the many benefits bats provide for our state,” says Senator Menjivar. “I’m especially excited this is a youth-led bill because we want to engage young Californians in science, conservation, and government now so they can build on these experiences throughout their academic careers and into their futures.”
Bats eat many pest species, including those that contribute to health risks such as mosquitoes, wasps, and flies. Statewide, bats provide more than $1 billion worth of pest control to California agriculture. Bats eat bark beetles and wood borers, reducing wildfire risks in forests. Urban areas have less exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika and West Nile thanks to the bats that live in our neighborhoods.
Naomi, who was 12 years old when the bill was introduced and just turned 13, is a constituent in Senate District 20. She approached Senator Menjivar with the idea of naming the Pallid the official state bat because of her passion for the subject. Naomi states, “Bats are awesome! They are most valuable for their pest control – eating up mosquitos, scorpions, and crop-destroying insects. I also love them because they are so cute and fascinating with all their amazing adaptations. They can even live up to forty years, so the bats in my neighborhood have probably been patrolling the night sky above my back yard for longer than I’ve been alive. Unfortunately, bat populations are declining in California. I hope highlighting the pallid bat that lives in so many diverse habitats across the state will help awaken everyone to their beauty and value.”
“The little bat is finally getting the recognition that it deserves for the important role it plays in our environment and ecosystem,” adds conservationist, Kim Richard. “Showing the importance of this bat’s place.”
Senator Menjivar and supporters of SB 732 respectfully ask Governor Newsom to sign the bill into law and name the Pallid as California’s state bat.