10 December 2007

The Bats of Subic Bay

Bats are nocturnal creatures, which means that they sleep during the day and forage for fruits at night, this being the case with the Subic bats who are actually peaceful giant Philippine Fruit Bats, or also known as the Giant Flying Fox, and yes, you guessed it, found only here in the Philippines.

Recently, I have noticed that these bats are disturbed from their normal sleeping hours during the day by, I was told, poachers. The bats are relatively protected in the Subic reservation, but are at great risk when they leave its boundaries at night to search for food. Other factors may also contribute to their restlessness, including too much noise, which pretty much could have been the case in this particular instance.

Nevertheless, if the bats are frequently irritated, they tend to move their abodes, which has been observed several times in the past few years. Subic authorities has moved the original bat viewing area, where they used to be seen flying from their nest during twilight by the thousands. I have spent early evenings with my wife and kids, staring at the night sky as the bats almost turn the twilight sky's violet hue to an almost black as they travel overhead us.

The bat's slumber being disturbed, coupled with their dwindling population due to them being hunted as food (the bats are a delicacy in certain parts of nearby provinces, particularly Bataan) make for an unstable formula in the continued peaceful and balanced existence of these wonderful creatures.

Here, we see the bats converge and attempt to sleep in a tree just a few meters from our backyard. I suspect that they would rather spend the day sleeping in that tree rather than in their usual home.

I wonder if anyone is doing anything to protect our bats, and keep them from going....uhm....bats!

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