Wednesday Feb, 19 2020 12:37:03 AM

DENR mulls declaration of critical habitat for large flying fox in Gensan

Climate Change/Environment • 08:30 AM Sat Sep 21, 2019
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Princess Kate A. Farrol and Mila Calungsod Locsin
Large flying foxes (Pteropus vampyrus) roost on one of the trees found Nopol Hills, Barangay Mabuhay, Gen. Santos City. A large fox spreads its wings and fly in the same site. (Photos courtesy of DENR-12)

KORONADAL CITY – In a bid to protect the remaining population of the large flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus) from hunting, loss of habitat and other threats, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is taking some steps for the declaration of an estimated 25-hectare site in Barangay Mabuhay, General Santos City as a critical habitat for this largest bat in the world.

A DENR composite team conducted a rapid habitat assessment of large flying fox roosting on trees in Nopol Hills located in Barangay Mabuhay.

The team was assisted by the representatives of Mabuhay Barangay LGU and the tenure holder of the Forest Land Grazing Management Agreement (FLGMA) No. 20-2007 where Nopol Hills is situated.

This is pursuant to Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act of 2001 and Joint DENR-DA-PCSD Administrative Order No. 01, its implementing rules and regulations.

The team estimated the bat population at 7,000. “Critical habitats refer to areas outside protected areas under Republic Act No. 7586 that are known habitats of threatened species and designated as such based on scientific data …” as defined under DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2007 – 02, dated February 28, 2007.

Forester Shalimar A. Disomangcop, the outgoing Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer of the DENR for South Cotabato, bared that the large flying fox feeds on fruits, nectar and flowers, hence these mammals are also called “large fruit bat”, Disomangcop said.

“They play a biological role in the ecosystem by dispersing seeds and by serving as pollinators of forest trees. Large fruit bats are vital when it comes to pollinating food crops locally, like durian, ” PENRO Disomangcop added.

The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), a DENR sub-office in General Santos City earlier reported that Nopol Hills is the roosting site of the bats owing to the presence of a forest in the locality.

Results of the rapid site assessment show that there are man-made pressures or threats occurring in the area such as cutting of trees and hunting that might affect the survival of the large flying foxes. These observations were reported to the Barangay LGU for appropriate action.

The presence of other natural resources that have economic and social impacts in the area were also observed by the team. The remaining activities that have to be undertaken are the conduct of perimeter survey, community consultation and write shop on the draft order declaring the designated area as critical habitat by the DENR Secretary.

Large Flying Fox is classified under Other Threatened Species under the List of Threatened Species as provided for under DENR Administrative Order No. 2004-15 and Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species or CITES (List of Threatened Species) as of 2017. (PKAFarrol/MCLocsin/DENR South Cotabato)

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