Like most bat species, the endangered Golden-crowned Flying Fox (also called the Golden-capped Fruit Bat) is active nocturnally. During the daytime, they depend on protected areas of the forest to cluster in large colonies where they rest, interact socially, and care for their pups. Unfortunately, most Flying Fox roosting areas in the Philippines are highly disturbed by bat hunters as well as other forest users. Human disturbance is very stressful to the Flying Fox, disrupting important rest and social activity and may cause pups to fall from their mothers. Persistence of these threatened Flying Fox populations depends on the protection of roosting sites.
There are currently only two known populations of the Golden-crowned Flying Fox that have protected roost sites in the Philippines, while research has shown that the populations of Flying Foxes at these protected roosts are 12 times the size of those at disturbed roost sites with the same amount of forest habitat.
The project team is working with local communities throughout the Philippines to develop roost site sanctuaries for the Golden-crowned Flying Fox where these amazing bats will be protected during the day. The team will work with local communities to identify these sanctuaries, which will ultimately be protected by the communities - the same people who will benefit by having a protected bat population nearby.
The goal of this project is to help recover the endangered Golden-crowned Flying Fox by establishing at least six newly-protected roost sanctuaries spread throughout the range of the species. Roost site protection will boost this species' dangerously small population sizes by as much as 12 times their current sizes.
Furthermore, local communities will benefit from the ecosystem services for example maintaining forests as fresh water sources, and agricultural services such as the pollination of crops that these bats offer. As communities take ownership for the protection of the Flying Fox bats, the bats will hence provide the community with economic and educational benefits as well as pride in having protected a charismatic piece of Philippine natural heritage.