28 February 2016

Army base projects raise fears for Subic bats

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The military base expansion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines toward the forests inside this free port has drawn concern from conservationists because of its potential impact on the habitat of fruit bats thriving there, an official here said.

Roberto Garcia, chair of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), said the agency is closely monitoring the population of two species of bats dwelling in the free port’s forest, after groups expressed apprehension that increased human activity near the animals’ habitat would disrupt the bat community and deplete their population.

“We’re trying to protect the habitat [of the Acerodon jubatus or giant golden-crowned flying foxes, and the Pteropus vampyrus lanensis or Philippine giant fruit bat] since bats are known to be sensitive to noise,” said Garcia in a news conference on Monday.

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Related story: SBMA conducts bat count to preserve endangered species