BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi — The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) – BARMM and the Provincial ENRE Office in Tawi-Tawi joined the “Born to be Wild” crew of GMA-7 during the latter’s assessment of flying foxes colony existing in Bongao Church Compound, Brgy. Pagasa, Bongao, and a site visit to Bud Bongao Conservation Area last 13-14 November 2021.

Locally known as Kabog, “one of its unique characteristics is its capability to thrive near human settlements and semi-urban areas contrary to popular belief that these bat species only occur in the forests, mountains, and caves,” says Community ENRE Officer Abdulmukim J. Maruji.

In Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, the population of small and big flying foxes is common. The golden-crowned flying foxes, however, are endangered. The MENRE assists Local Government Units in documenting wildlife species in the province to develop conservation and preservation strategies better.

Last 7 April 2021, field trainers and trainees composed of PENREO Tawi-Tawi officials joined the Philippine Biodiversity, Inc. (PhilBio) to identify and determine the population count of flying foxes in the area as mentioned earlier. In their assessment, they had observed the presence of around 10,000 bats in eight colonies and three flying fox species: Golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jabatus), Large flying fox (Pteropus vampyrus), and Island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus).

The Born to be Wild educational show occasionally highlights crocodile species in Panglima Sugala, bats in Panglima Sugala and Bongao, and Slow Lorises in Simunul Island for the continued assessment of local conservation area in Bongao Peak or Bud Bongao.