Pitcher plant find boosts Mt. Candalaga’s protection bid
DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — The discovery of the newest pitcher plant species endemic to a Davao de Oro mountain will boost Davao region’s campaign to declare Mt. Candalaga as one of Mindanao’s protected sites, environment officials said on Sunday.
Nepenthes candalaga, Davao de Oro’s newest pitcher plant species found thriving near the summit of Mt. Candalaga, has been named after the mountain in Maragusan town revered by the Mansaka indigenous peoples and which top Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) officials had been eyeing to be included in Davao region’s protected sites.
Noel Lagunday, lead author of the July 2022 article published in Phytotaxa, a peer-reviewed international journal of botanical taxonomy, referred to Nepenthes candalaga as the 38th Nepenthes species found in Mindanao and has been tagged as critically endangered according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature criteria.
The discovery of the plant species also marked the island of Mindanao as having the highest concentration of pitcher plants in the country.
Lagunday, a researcher for the Central Mindanao University (CMU) center for biodiversity research and extension, first sighted the plant during the biodiversity expedition to the mountain in April 30 to May 3, 2021, along with a team of CMU researchers and DENR officials.
The expedition, led by DENR regional director Bagani Fidel Evasco, aimed to gather data on the state of flora and fauna in the area to support the region’s proposal to declare the 2,100-meter Mt. Candalaga as a protected site or a critical habitat of threatened species, the DENR said in a statement.
Jayvee Jude Agas, chief of the DENR Davao regional strategic communication and initiatives group, said in an interview on Sunday that they considered the discovery and naming of the plant one of the highlights of the DENR’s campaign to protect biodiversity.
However, she said it would still take a long process before Mt. Candalaga would be declared a protected site.
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