The Haribon Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources Threatened Species Program recently co-sponsored this year's Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines Symposium. The symposium was held at the Mambukal Resort in Murcia in the province of Negros Occidental.
The symposium featured presentations of papers on conservation efforts all over the country. In addition, the CEPF-supported Threatened Species Program led a workshop on threatened vertebrate species. Workshop participants put their heads together to come up with a list of threatened species to be used in the implementation of the country's new Wildlife Act.
Immediately afterward, the Threatened Species Program conducted a one-week field course jointly supported by the Royal Netherlands Embassy to further conservation research on threatened species. As part of the course, 12 Filipino graduate students and practicing conservationists learned about conservation research design and methods.
The Philippines harbors nearly 200 terrestrial vertebrate species threatened by extinction. Most are found nowhere else in the world. The need for more biodiversity research was illustrated when a snake encountered in the course's first field exercise turned out to be only the second record of this species for the Philippines and the first for the island of Negros. The snake was only described in 2002.
Participants said that the field course was extremely helpful, but that they would like more field activities and exercises. These concerns will be addressed when the course is developed into a month-long program.
In addition, several participants signified their intent to apply for Conservation Research Grants administered by the same program. The small grants will support field research on threatened species.
Related story: New Program to Save Species in the Philippines