Mission: To run Conservation Recovery Programmes for the Visayan spotted deer and many other species, to protect them in the wild and the habitat they live in.
Species: Visayan spotted deer, Visayan warty pig and other threatened West Visayan species.
Location: Negros and Panay Islands (West Visayas, Philippines)
Support started: 2013
Donating: £1,000 towards field equipment needed to monitor all of the species on these islands.
Background: The Philippines has more seriously threatened endemic species than any other country in the world; whereas the 'West Visayas Faunal Region has more seriously endemic species (and subspecies) than the rest of the Philippines put together. In fact the West Visayas constitutes one of the world's single highest priority areas for conservation concern and action in terms of both numbers of threatened endemic taxa represented and degrees of threat.
The Visayan spotted deer is listed as Critically Endangered, and formerly occurred on all six main islands comprising the West Visayas, however they are now currently extinct on four of the islands. It now only survives in small numbers in highly fragmented forest tracts on Negros and Panay Islands. These islands are subject to continuing hunting pressure, despite full legal protection. The Visayan spotted deer is generally regarded as the world's most endangered cervid, and due to being one of the threatened West Visayan endemics, it has been naturally adopted as the 'flagship species programme' for this region.
The programme was formally initiated in April 1990, following distribution-wide status surveys conducted in the mid- to late-1980's, but has since been extended to include a variety of other most threatened West Visayan endemics, such as the Visayan warty pig, Visayan leopard cat, Visayan writhed hornbill, Visayan scops owl and Panay bushy-tailed cloud rat.
Achievements: Recovery programmes have been set up for several of these threatened West Visayan species, and involve structured breeding programmes using animals rescued from private owners or confiscated from local hunters and traders. The principal objectives of these programmes are naturally focused on enhancing the survival prospects of the few remaining wild populations of these species and their last remaining native habitats.
Future objectives: The single highest conservation priority objectives of the 'Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation's Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Programme (PBCFI-PBCP)', and, indeed, this particular project, are: a) assist salient national & local government authorities to develop and implement far more effective conservation strategies within the few existing 'protected areas' within this region; b) assist salient LGUs and other local stakeholders to establish new protected areas; and c) identify appropriate habitats for the reintroduction of one or more of these species, based on national and international species' reintroduction guidelines/protocols.