Bat that helps make tequila gets off endangered species list

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Wildlife managers in the American Southwest say a once-rare bat important to the pollination of plants used to produce tequila has made a comeback and is being removed from the federal endangered species list.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the delisting of the lesser long-nosed bat Tuesday, making it the first bat ever removed from the nation's list of threatened and endangered species.

The decision comes a year after first being proposed in the U.S.

Mexico delisted the bat in 2015.

Federal officials say it has taken 30 years of conservation efforts by biologists and volunteers in Mexico and the U.S., as well as tequila producers in Mexico to rebuild a healthy population.

Now, there are about 200,000 of the nectar-feeding animals and dozens of roost sites.