Samal Island cave houses 2.3M bats

Monfort Bat Cave / Mindanews File Photo

The Monfort Bat Sanctuary, in the Island Garden City of Samal, is setting up a chiropterium, a man-made bat cave to provide an additional hub to the 2.3 million fruit bats in a four-hectare eco-park’s in Island Garden City of Samal.

Norma Monfort, owner and president of Monfort Bat Sanctuary, said she has partnered with Virginia State University and hoped to sign the memorandum of agreement with the US-based University by June.

“The project is expected to start this year once they finalized the agreement,” she said.

“I’m already in contact with them and as soon as I can raise funds I will start the construction,” Monfort said. “The city of Samal is already thinking how to build it with me.”

Monfort said that there are too many bats inhabiting the cave which made her to think of setting up a chiropterium, a combination of the word “chiroptera” (for hand wing bats) and “torium” from auditorium.

“We will recycle a 40-meter container van to make it a chiroptorium,” Monfort said.

Monfort also wants to put up an artificial bat cave for interactive viewing of both visitors and researchers.

She added that bats that inhabit Monfort’s place are called Geoffroy’srousette fruit bats (Rousettusamplexicaudatus)

“I just try to use indigenous materials. I also make sure that the bats are fully protected,” Monfort said.

Monfort Bat Sanctuary, in the Island Garden City of Samal, was declared as having the world’s biggest colony of fruit bats, the population has now boomed to 2.3 million.

In 2010, staff from the Guinness Book of World Records came and found out there were about 1.8 million bats residing in the 245 foot-long (75 meter-long) cave. That’s a density of 645 bats per square meter.

Winning the award, she said, means helping further the cause of bat conservation in the country and elsewhere, she said.

Meanwhile, Monfort Bat Sanctuary is hosting again the one-day activity dubbed as ‘Earth Hour 2018’ on March 24, coinciding with the month honoring women. . There would be a BATtiange, where participants install their own boothsto distribute about their different advocacies and to sell organic and other products.

‘The Earth our 2018 Switch off’ will be from 8:30pm to 9:30pm and there would be also fire dance and music presentations by night.