Fruit bats are fast becoming extinct in Negros Oriental as residents there continue to catch and eat them, environmentalists in the province warned this week.
At least two types of fruit bats — chevnous fruit bats and golden flying fox — are being poached in Valencia and Sibulan towns in Negros Oriental, said wildlife advocate Pol Cariño.
Cariño said fried fruit bats have been identified as a most delicious recipe in the two areas, according to a report in news site Visayan Daily Star.
He said the chevnous fruit bats and the golden flying fox can easily be caught through nets or traps locally known as “balag-ong,” especially during the fruit bearing season of fruit trees.
Fruit bats only eat fruits and flower nectar during night time.
Cariño said he learned about the illegal hunting of fruit bats during the lanzones season in Valencia where a kilo of fruit bat meat is sold for P150.
Fruit bats thrive in the area because of the forest and the availability of food like fruits and flowers.
Cariño said he was saddened to learn about the illegal hunting of fruit bats and hoped local police will strengthen monitoring and efforts to protect wildlife.
Other species of wildlife that are nearing extinction include the Negros bleeding heart pigeon, callao, and the Negros forest frog.
Cariño said the Negros forest frog are so tiny and they serve as forest indicator as their presence would proves that the forest is still healthy and considered growing.
Fruit bats are among the largest in the world. The Philippines has at least 56 species of bats among the over 1,000 known species in the world. – JE/KBK/HS, GMANews.TV