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Study finds no frogs in Hundred Islands

By Yolanda Sotelo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:51:00 08/18/2010

Filed Under: Animals, Environmental Issues, Regional authorities

ALAMINOS CITY?There are no frogs in the Hundred Islands National Park here. But in these islands dotting the Lingayen Gulf in western Pangasinan, turtles, lizards, bats, monkeys and snakes abound.

This was the finding of a study by the Sagip Lingayen Gulf Project that was implemented by the Marine Environment and Resources Foundation Inc. and funded by the Dutch government.

The study was made to ?respond to the lack of information on the terrestrial wildlife resources? of the park and to inventory and assess plant and animal species on the islands.

Mayor Hernani Braganza said the survey was made to help the city government create an environmental monitoring program to protect the islands? habitats.

The study said frogs were not caught, heard or seen in the islands visited by the team.

?The lack of fresh water source in the islands may explain their absence. The rainwater trapped on tree holes is most likely to be salty due to the saltwater spray from the sea,? it said.

The team, however, only looked for frogs in Governor?s and Monkey Islands, two major islands in the park that has 123 islands and islets.

The team said local guides saw at least three kinds of sea turtles?Green Sea Turtle, Olive Ridley and a species of red turtle.

?No terrestrial turtle was observed by the group nor reported by the local guides in the park,? it said.

The team said it saw a gecko in a rock crevice inside the Virgin Island Cave. Another lizard, Gekko monarchus (spotted house gecko), was caught in a small tree along the beach forest on Governor?s Island.

Gecko eggshells in rock crevices were found in the different areas of the island. Distinctive gecko calls were heard in Century Island, where the team found eggs.

?The local guides reported that monitor lizards (bayawak) were present in some islands. The flora group flushed one monitor lizard on Camantiles Island,? the study said.

A trap for monitor lizard, considered a delicacy by some, was found by the team on Century Island, indicating some locals are hunting the animal.

In the Virgin Island Cave, the study team found a skin of sea krait, a type of sea snake, between rock crevices. A live sea snake (Laticauda colubrine) was caught in the same cave.

?A dead sea snake was seen floating off Monkey Island that we passed by on our way to the Governor?s Island,? the team said.

?Local guides claim that there are reticulated pythons in the Governor?s Island and several other islands,? it said.

The team also found various species of bats and rodents on the Governor?s and Century Islands.

The researchers believed that palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) lives on Monkey and Camantiles Islands after seeing droppings there.

The team did not see a live long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) but found a skull of a mature monkey on one side of the Monkey Island.

The team said marine mammals, like dugong and a Fraser?s dolphin, have been seen in the national park.

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