Balabac Island is located in the extreme southwestern Philippines , about 35 km south of Palawan Island , and about 70 km north of Borneo. For its size (36 km long and 12 km wide), Balabac has an incredible biodiversity with various types of habitats ranging from pristine rainforest with elevation up to 576 meters, wetlands, mangroves, and coral reefs. The island is home of an endemic and endangered wildlife such as the Philippine mouse deer (Tragulus napu nigricans), the world's smallest ungulate, or the Palawan peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron emphanum).
For a long time, Balalac Island was ignored; however, ESI quickly recognized the critical importance to launch a comprehensive sustainable conservation program that will benefit endangered species, their habitat, and the local communities. Photographs by Pierre Fidenci and Felina Perez.