Mindoro hosts 17 new animal species
MANILA, Philippines–Seventeen animal species never before recorded in Mindoro were spotted on the island, with two of these never before documented in the entire country.
This was disclosed by the nonprofit environmental organization Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. (MBCFI), which documented the faunal species from 2011 to 2013 while doing biological surveys in the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro.
The reports on the expeditions and MBCFI’s other programs were handed over on Thursday to government officials and the foundation’s corporate and civil society partners in an official turnover ceremony at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.
“The species have been recorded before in other areas. But based on previous research conducted on Mindoro, they’ve never before been recorded on the [island],” MBCFI executive director Grace Diamante told the Inquirer.
“Perhaps the [species] had been there for a long time, but the resources [to conduct an inventory] just weren’t available until now,” Diamante said.
The foundation’s survey team was composed of bird enthusiasts and biologists, rangers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, representatives from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños Museum of Natural History and the Kansas University-Biodiversity Institute.
To document their findings, the team photographed and captured the animals through mist netting.
Conducting such an inventory is the first crucial step to preserve biodiversity in Mindoro, according to the MBCFI.
“We can’t do interventions without the survey,” Diamante said, noting that the study would be the “baseline” for a 10-year conservation plan.
Environment Assistant Secretary Marcial Amaro Jr. in a speech at the turnover said, “We now have this very important information. This will provide us with the status of resources that we are supposed to manage. We will now be able to readjust interventions to make sure these are covered in programs we carry out.”
The newly recorded species on Mindoro were 11 birds, two bats, three fishes and a snake. The MBCFI also documented a bat species recorded only once before on the island.
Ten of the bird species were recorded at Apo Reef Natural Park in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. These were: The migratory Oriental Cuckoo; Pacific Golden Plover; Oriental Pratincole; Barred Rail; the Brown Booby; the near-endemic Mantanani Scops Owl; the Hoopoe; the Black-crowned Night Heron; Black Bulbul; and Asian Paradise Flycatcher.
First record in PH
According to MBCFI, their recorded sighting in March 2013 of the Black Bulbul and the Asian Paradise Flycatcher a first in the Philippines, although the birds are commonly spotted in other parts of Asia.
On Mt. Siburan, also in Sablayan, the foundation recorded a Green-Faced Parrotfinch, a rare bird endemic to the Philippines and previously only found in Luzon and Negros.
Six of the faunal species were recorded at Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro. These were: The Orange-fingered Myotis bat endemic to the Philippines; Hairy-winged Bat; Broadhead Sleeper Goby locally known as “Urabog”; the Goby locally known as “Bukatot”; Ragged-tail Pipefish called “Kabayo” and Banded File Snake.
The foundation also recorded a Mindoro Stripe-faced Fruitbat at the Mt. Calavite Wildlife Sanctuary in Paluan and Ilin Island in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. While the bat species’ presence was not the known first on Mindoro island, it was only previously spotted on Mt. Siburan, when it was discovered in 2006.
The MBCFI said their reports attested to the importance of Mindoro “as one of the global biodiversity conservation priority areas, particularly in terms of the number of endemic species, diversity of habitat and degrees of threats.”
According to MBCFI, there are more than 300 species of birds recorded on Mindoro island, a fourth of which are endemic to the Philippines, and at least five of which are globally threatened. There are also at least 10 endemic species of mammals recorded on the island, six of which are threatened, 94 species of amphibians and reptiles, and at least 70 endemic species of flora.
The MBCFI was founded in 2007, under the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. Although its Mt. Calavite sanctuary assessment was funded by the Foundation for the Philippine Environment, the MBCFI is mostly funded by an unlikely sponsor, oil giant Shell Philippines.
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