|Bats in Monfort cave|
Mrs Monfort’s land on the island contains Monfort Cave, which is believed house the largest known colony of these bats in the world. She has worked with the assistance of Bat Conservation International to protect the estimated 1.8 million creatures that live in the cave. Scientist and tourists from all over the world have flocked to the cave to watch and study the bats. Mrs Monfort welcomed them, and allowed visitors to see the caves for free, but the effect this human traffic had on the bats made her rethink the situation.
Today visitors can see the bats for PHP 40 (around one dollar USA) but are kept away from them by bamboo railings. Still, the growing population of bats in Monfort Cave is putting even more pressure on the colony, which Mrs Monfort told the Sun.Star newspaper in Davao could be relieved by building a chiroptorium, or artificial bat cave. She is meeting with Texan bat lover and co founder of Church’s Chicken J. David Bamberger to discuss the plans for the chiroptorium - he has already built one in Texas.
Such tireless work on behalf of the bats is typical of the dedication and sense of responsibility Mrs. Monfort feel towards the cave, which is part of her family’s heritage. Bat Conservation International nominated her for the Disney award, which is given to ‘ordinary individuals who are passionate about protecting animals.’ Certainly, Mrs Monfort falls into that category.
The UN declared 2011 the Year of the Bat and events were held all round the world to raise awareness of this much misunderstood creature. This important campaign was launched at the Monfort cave in the Philippines, now called the Monfort Conservation Park and Bat Sanctuary. Among the events at the nine day Bat Camp celebration were workshops, night tours and tree planting. The Year of the Bat website reported that This even set the bar for the whole year.
Of course the bats are completely unaware of the efforts of Mrs Monfort and her fellow conservationists on their behalf, and that is how those who are passionate about animals and their habitas like it - after all, the less the animals know about it, the greater the success in protecting them from human folly.
Source: Bella Online http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art174739.asp
More pictures: http://funfunpics.blogspot.com/2010/05/geoffreys-rousette-fruit-bat-in-world.html