Kagwang (Philippine Flying Lemur)
Kagwang (Cynocephalus volans) or Philippine Flying Lemur
Kagwang or the Philippine Flying Lemur (Cynocephalus volans), an endemic species which exists in the faunal region of Mindanao and the Visayas, particularly in the island of Bohol.
The Philippine Flying Lemur is a timid and gentle night creature of the Philippine forests. It spends most of its time on top of trees, often seen to jump and glide from one tree to another when disturbed. The species is widely known locally as “Kagwang” which occurs in Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Dinagat, Siargao, Mindanao, Zamboanga, and Basilan.
The Philippine Flying Lemur does not actually fly! What it does is climb a tree as high as possible and jump to glide from tree to tree. Gliding is possible because of the patagium – a fold of skin between the front and back limbs of each side similar to bat “wings”.
Kagwang is a nocturnal mammal, meaning it only becomes active after dark. It primarily feeds on leaves and sometimes fruits.
In mainland Mindanao, Kagwang is one of the prey preferences of the Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi.
The World Conservation Union or IUCN listed the Philippine Flying Lemur as the least concern while the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2019-09 listed it as OTS – other wildlife species.
Though widespread and common in its range, the relentless destruction of the Philippine forests combined with indiscriminate hunting will continue to threaten the survival of the species in its natural habitats.
Text by NMP Bohol Team & NMP Zoology Division
Photo courtesy of DENR Rajah Sikatuna Protected Landscape (RSPL) – Riverside, Bilar, Bohol