HOME FOR BATS
Since it was discovered, the Monfort Bat Cave served as a home for bats in Samal Island
Samal is known for its bountiful pristine beaches but there is more to Samal than just its white sands and long picturesque shoreline. Samal is home to the little flying night creatures too: the bats.
In 2010, Guinness World Record awarded the world's largest known population of Geoffrey's Rousette fruit bats to the Monfort Bat Cave located in barangay Tambo, Island Garden City of Samal. The cave was also recognized as the largest single colony of bats inhabitants residing in one cave annex.
Monfort Bat Sanctuary owner and bat conservation advocate Norma Monfort said bats are important in maintaning Davao's precious gem and the king of all fruits, durian. Bats are one of the pollinators of the durian flower which blooms only at night.
Presently, the bat sanctuary houses 2.5 million bats, definitely an increase from 1.8 million bats recorded in over the past eight years.
For every square meter, apporoximatley 640 bats are clinging to the rock formation of the natural sink hole.
Monfort said this bat population ratio might be a sign of overpopulation in the cave. She said numerous scientists and environmental advocates have already proposed projects to address the issue.
A plan is already crafted to have a chiroptorium, an artificial batcave, for an alternative space for the bats to live. Through this alternative space, bats can opt to live in a container van, where the temperature is modified to replicate the cave's environment.
“In this way, we can help minimize the overcrowding in the bat cave, also it would be easier for us to get the guano and help farmers process it for them to have fertilizers,” Monfort said.
She added that with the present condition in the cave, she does not allow the collection of guano as this will disturb the bats and may even cause for them to leave.
Monfort said this had been the common reason why most bats in Samal Island abandon their caves. She added guano collection became rampant for a while, which disturbed the bats and even harmed female bats in rearing their babies.
Monfort said with the presence of humans in the cave, some female bats get surprised, accidentally dropping their babies. This is one of the reason why Monfort decided to leave the bats from close human interaction.
For now, Monfort continues to advocate to Dabawenyos and Filipinos alike in raising awareness of how vital bats are in maintaning the balance of the ecosystem.
Far from the exaggerated portrayal of bats in television and movies, bats are loving creatures to their young and are hardworking pollinators. They could reach to Mati City, Davao Oriental looking for food and pollinating different plants.
In actively helping conserve the environment by respecting natural resources like caves, and planting trees, Monfort said this is already a big step in protecting the little flying creatures and the environment too.
HOME. Monfort Bat Sanctuary at the Island Garden City of Samal, houses the largest colony of Rousette fruit bats in the world.
POLLINATORS. A Monfort Bat Sanctuary volunteer underscores the importance of bats in the durian production of Davao City, as bats are one of the biggest pollinators of the durian flower which blooms only at night.