Herp watch Palawan 2001

Arvin Cantor Diesmos

Herp Watch Palawan 2001 is a collaborative project of De La Salle University-Dasmariñas, Haribon Foundation, and Palawan State University. It aims to collect information on systematics and ecology of amphibians and reptiles from the forested mountains of central and southern regions of Palawan and promote their conservation. At present, knowledge on the conservation status of the herpetofauna on these areas is non-existent. More over, there exists a huge deficiency of information on basic biology, ecology, and taxonomy of this group. Like the birds and mammals of Palawan, the herpetofauna is exposed to various threats and disturbances from human activities like forest clearance, habitat alteration, poaching, and trade. Although the Project's major thrust is field research and conservation of herpetofauna, ornithologist and mammalogist team members will also perform rapid assessment surveys of birds and mammals to gather updated information in order to assess the present conservation status most especially of the Threatened species. An initial assessment of the human impacts on species and habitats will also be undertaken. The new information that will be generated will be used to consolidate current efforts by government agencies and local and international conservation organizations in pinpointing priority areas for conservation and inclusion in the existing protected areas system on Palawan. Conservation awareness campaigns will include: 1) presentations and on-the- field training programs to selected teachers/educators, park wardens, and local government officials; 2) class room presentations and field learning camps for selected elementary, secondary, and college students; and 3) production and distribution of user-friendly biodiversity information packages such as photographic guides of the wildlife (with versions in English and the local dialect), information posters, and biodiversity instruction manuals specifically designed for educators with scarce background on current issues on Philippine biodiversity research and conservation.