The naked-backed fruit bat of the Philippines is a rare species of megabat that is indegenous to a few islands in the archipelago. This megabat can be seen mostly in Negros, though Cebu is also a home to them. A majority of the fruit bats live in Negros with the Cebu population consisting of two small groups.
Seeing in the Dark
The numbers of the naked-backed fruit bat species used to be sky-high. It wasn’t until the rise of sugar cane planting when their population went downhill. The practice of clearing the forests to make room for plains hit the fruit bat hard. Since then, they have not been able to recover. The bats also used to produce marketable amounts of fertilizer. Guano (the fertilizer), a rare and in demand commodity, used in organic farming for its beneficial properties.
At the moment, the IUCN Red List has this species listed as critically endangered with the remaining populations decreasing rapidly. It is upsetting and sad that the progress of the Philippines meant the decline of this species. Bats are one of the main contributors in seed dispersal and therefore play a very important role in the propagation of fruiting plants.
Aside from the forests the Cebu groups live in being protected, the government hasn’t taken other safety and protective measures to guarantee the fruit bat’s survival. It is an unfortunate fact that in Negros, very little is being done to help and restore the dwindling numbers of this animal. The fruit bats need every bit of assistance they can get. For now, let’s hope that the groups in Cebu are able to survive and that they won’t suffer from bottle-necking. The unprotected population of the naked-backed fruit bat in Negros is still in desperate need for a protective legislation.