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50K-80K flying foxes documented in Banisilan

Climate Change/Environment • 17:00 PM Fri May 10, 2024
Edwin O. Fernandez
ENVIRONMENT Monitors in Cotabato province document thousands of large flying foxes in the mountains of Banisilan town on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (Photos courtesy of DENR-12)

COTABATO CITY  – About 50,000 to 80,000 flying foxes of various species were closely monitored by a team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-12) in the forested area of Banisilan, North Cotabato on Wednesday (May 8).

Personnel from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Midsayap documented the flying foxes in the mountains of Barangay Malagap in the upland town of Banisilan.

Lawyer Felix Alicer, DENR regional director in Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos), said a team of researchers observed that a huge number of small flying foxes or the island flying foxes (Pteropus hypomelanus), Philippine fruit bats or large flying foxes (Pteropus vampyrus), and the golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) exist in the area.

In a brief orientation with the composite monitoring team, Senior Ecosystems Management Specialist and CENRO Midsayap - CDS Chief Forester Mary Ann Cadungog emphasized the importance of conserving the biodiversity in the area to maintain a healthy and sustainable habitat for the bats/ flying foxes and other wildlife therein.

“The loss of roost and forage habitat would pose the biggest threat to these species since a great deal of flying fox mortality could result from starvation,” Cadungog said.

Banisilan Municipal Environment Officer (MENRO) Anton Calonge said the Wildlife Resources Conservation Act, also known as Republic Act No. 9147, clearly provides for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and that the collection of such species by anyone is strictly prohibited.

Though the island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) has a generally decreasing population, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed its conservation status as the least concern.

DENR said the large flying fox or the Philippine fruit bats (Pteropus vampyrus) are widely spread in lowland forests throughout the Philippine islands and its conservation status is listed as nearly threatened while the golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus), possibly the largest bat in the world, though endemic to the country, is already classified as endangered species. (

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