New Program to Save Species In the Philippines

In Focus, April 2003

The Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources has launched a comprehensive program to arrest species loss in the Philippines biodiversity hotspot. The program is made possible by a grant from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

As part of this program, the Haribon Foundation will ensure that strong local commitment and sustained interventions are in place to conserve threatened species and their habitats in the Philippines.

While CEPF focuses primarily on Eastern Mindanao, Palawan and Sierra Madre, the new Emergency Action for Threatened Species Program will work across the rest of the hotspot to help conserve the 30 percent of the Philippines' unique species found outside the focal areas, particularly in Cebu, Negros, Mindoro, Panay, Sibuyan and Tawi-tawi.

The Haribon Foundation will work with partner organizations and individuals in these islands, which host locally unique species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, small invertebrates, freshwater fish and plants.

The Threatened Species Program will:

An advisory committee composed of mammal expert Lawrence Heaney of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago; ornithologists Nigel Collar of BirdLife International and Thomas Brooks of Conservation International; herpetologist Angel Alcala of Silliman University in Dumaguete City; and wildlife ecologist Carlo Custodio of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau will provide technical guidance on priority sites and actions.

Lessons from the program will be shared with local and international conservation practitioners and policymakers through participation at the annual symposia of the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines and other means such as articles published in local and international journals.

"Haribon will be on the ground, working with local stakeholders to ensure that they have the capacity to save species to benefit future generations," says Anabelle Plantilla, executive director of the Haribon Foundation. "We hope to pass on the lessons of our 30 years of conservation experience in the Philippines to the people who will help determine the fate of our nation's natural resources."

The Haribon Foundation —BirdLife in the Philippines— is a membership organization at the forefront of environmental protection and sustainable resource management in the Philippines. It conducts scientific and socioeconomic research on natural ecosystems and supports community-based resource management in protected areas. Haribon works with local people for biodiversity conservation in both terrestrial and marine habitats.