(File photo of Mambukal  courtesy of PIO Negros Occidental)

BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental provincial government is supporting efforts to protect the vulnerable Philippine flying foxes, also known as fruit bats.

Mambukal, situated on the foot of Mt. Kanlaon, is one of the few bat sanctuaries in the Philippines.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the hosting of the 1st National Flying Fox Forum at the Mambukal Resort and Wildlife Sanctuary in Murcia town until Wednesday is
a headway in the efforts to protect the endangered species from extinction.

“While it is true that the balance of our biodiversity isn’t always easy to maintain, we must nonetheless undertake the necessary steps for its protection and balance; for ecological, medical, agricultural, and even aesthetic and recreational importance,” Lacson added.

He noted that the Philippines is host to 10 species of flying foxes, of which five are found only in the country.

In Mambukal, at least three species of flying foxes can be found, including the golden-crowned flying fox, the large flying fox, and the common island flying fox.

Attended by representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional offices, the forum seeks to develop protocols for addressing issues on flying fox hunting and gather inputs for the Philippine Flying Fox Species Conservation Action Plan 2022 to 2032.

The event is organized by the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau in collaboration with the Mabuwaya Foundation Inc., Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. and Caraga State University, and supported by the United States Fish and Wildlife Services.

Before the forum proper, international partners from Indonesia and Malaysia met with their Philippine counterparts. (PNA)