By Mart D. Sambalud
The local government of Kapalong has taken measures to put a stop on alleged bat poaching and to protect the town’s caves from possible degradation. “The bat cave conservation management plan will enable us to formulate and implement policies that will protect our bat caves from the abuses of some people who visited the caves for tourism and research purposes,” said Roderick Parcon, coordinator for the town’s Municipal Tourism Office (MTO).
Parco told davaotoday.com they are alarmed over reports that some local residents and even tourists have been poaching bats in various caves at Suaon Natures Park in Sitio Sambayon, Suaon village.
He also cited a 2003 report that bat poaching activities were prevalent in the town with the scale of 80 to 90 percent. Even at birthing time, local residents allegedly poached bats for pulutan (finger food).
The nature park has twelve caves that are home to various fruit and insect bats, according to the Davao Speleological and Conservation Society (DSPECS). Out of the total caves, only 9 have been mapped and assessed as potential for cave tourism and research.
The MTO is now conducting surveillance in some known caves particularly the Kapunit and Otso Caves which were surveyed and classified as cave tourism by the Cave Committee in Region XI.
In a bat rootstrain measurement conducted by DSPECS in 2009, it was found out that Kapunit cave is home to 1.2 million fruit bats (rousettus amplexicaudatus) while the Otso cave was home to insect bats (Rhinolophus sp.). More....