|Illegally trafficked Palawan forest turtles by the thousands! (pic c/o Katala Foundation, from Traffic.org site)|
Palawan is the Philippines' equivalent of Galapagos or Madagascar. Unique endemic species thrive in this elongated, narrow strip of island in the West of Philippines. Geologically, Palawan is a ‘break-off’ from Asia mainland unlike the rest of the Philippines and this geological difference contributed to Palawan’s eco-diversity not seen in other parts of the country.
Unfortunately, continued illegal wildlife trade and habitat destruction threatened most of the species and many are in critically endangered status.
It is for this reason that our team from UP Mountaineers decided to do a travel exploration around Palawan before the end of this year – to raise awareness on wildlife and nature conservation, and to raise fund for our partner NGO – The Center of Conservation and Innovation. We’ll travel in the most responsible and sustainable way while discovering the various sites of the island, and while campaigning for its conservation.
Center of Conservation and Innovations is a biodiversity conservation NGO that aims to promote the development of new biodiversity conservation approaches and regenerative livelihoods- by developing partnerships and building capabilities for science-based, nature-inspired, and socially appropriate conservation strategies.
One of the long-running program of CCI is Tandikan (Philippine pheasant) conservation. One of the most beautiful ground birds that I’ve personally seen. Others include hornbill and pangolin conservation studies. It’s common in our local news that forest turtles, exotic birds and pangolins are heavily poached and trafficked – a sad reality of our wildlife threat.
My team will document and publish interesting stories about various sites, the travel or other matters as we explore various places in the island.
How can you help?
ICC will need a lot of help – from the local community, from volunteers, and from the local government. The other crucial factor is support; from us – mere spectators but future beneficiaries and stakeholders of their work.
Any contribution big or small – will definitely help us both in the awareness campaign and in actual conservation effort, with the hope of preserving our natural treasures for our future generations.
We encourage cash donations sent directly to ICC (details will be shared as needed). Or in the meantime – post your pledge for this worthwhile endeavour. Will post more details of this trip as we get closer to the date.