Biodiversity has been disappearing at an alarming rate in the Philippines.
The island of Palawan, which located in the southwestern Philippines, is one of the major
remaining hot spots for biodiversity in Southeast Asia. To respond to the rapid species
loss and increasing environmental degradation in island of Palawan, Palawan State
University has recently created the interdisciplinary Center for Biodiversity.
At the same time, Endangered Species International is providing support in developing
website, enhancing environmental communication, and providing specific trainings to the
newly created center for biodiversity.
Endangered Species International supports initiatives and projects preserving
biodiversity in the Philippines. The objectives of the center for Biodiversity are to
expand scientific research on diverse species in critical ecosystems, to strengthen the
quality and quantity of scientific data used for conservation and public policy,
and building professional and institutional capacity in Palawan.
One of the key features of the center is its strong involvement of young local students,
environmental leaders of the future.
Endangered Species International is currently creating and developing the Center for
Biodiversity’s website. The website will provide information on Palawan’s biodiversity
and strengthen environmental communication amongst local, national, and international
interested parties. We will also provide training on endangered species and technical
tools such as Geographic Information System (GIS) to the staff and local students.
For example, we already conducted training on the critically endangered Philippine forest
turtle for staff members and students during February 2006.
Note: this project is part of the Environmental Communication Development Program at
Endangered Species International.
Facts about the Island of Palawan
Palawan is located about 600 km southwest of Manila, between Mindoro Island and Borneo
with the China Sea to the west and Sulu Sea to the east. Palawan is about 425 km long,
ranges from 9 to 45 km in width. Palawan still harbors many of the Philippines’ few
remaining mangroves, mossy, and monsoonal forests. It is home to more than 200 vertebrate
species, more than a quarter of all Philippine wildlife species. Many, such as the Palawan
Bear Cat (Arctitis whitei allen), the Philippine Macaque (Macaca sp), the monitor lizard (
Varanus salvator) the Pangolin (Paramanis culionensis), the Southern Palawan Tree Squirrel
(Sundasciurus steeri), the Palawan Peacock Pheasant (Polyplecton emphanum), the Philippine
forest turtle (Heosemys leytensis) and the Philippine discoglossid frog (Barbourula
busuangensis) are endemic to Palawan and declining in large number due to habitat
destruction and hunting.
The College of Sciences building at Palawan State University
Endangered Species International executive director Pierre Fidenci (far left) meeting with the Dean of the College of Science (far right) and professors at Palawan State University's Biodiversity Center in February 2006