Katala quest, Northern Palawan

Indira Lacerna

The flagship species of the expedition is the critically endangered Philippine cockatoo, an endemic to the island nation. As few as 1,000 individuals may be left in the wild. The island of Palawan is the last stronghold of the species with about 700 birds remaining there. However, information on the species from northern Palawan is incomplete, or almost ten years old (Lambert, 1994). Some lowland forest types, which serve as cockatoo habitats in Palawan have never been systematically studied for their vertebrate communities, some of which are also listed as globally threatened. Therefore in-depth assessment of terrestrial vertebrate communities (small mammals, bats, birds, reptiles and amphibians) will be conducted, particularly in coastal, swamp, and riparian forest. Outputs will be used to heighten awareness about local biodiversity among the communities close to the survey sites of the four selected municipalities. Students, local community members, and selected personnel of agencies will be trained in wildlife survey techniques and species identification. Data collected will be compiled and made available for local decision makers for the attempt of an ecological zoning of their respective municipalities, and for assessment of potential future project sites for the Philippine cockatoo in Northern Palawan.