In another world first, the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation (NFEFI) has successfully bred two Visayan leopard cat kittens at its Biodiversity Conservation Center (BCC) in Bacolod City.
This is the first time this subspecies has been bred in captivity anywhere in the world .
The breeding pair were rescued early last year from La Carlota City - the female from the farm of former NFEFI president Gerry Ledesma and the male from a nearby farm. Both parents are around 20 months old. The kittens were born earlier this month.
The 2012 Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition (NIBE) to the interior of the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP) ended on Tuesday.
The expedition team, comprising scientists, biologists, mountaineers, teachers and logistics experts from the UK and the Philippines, set off on March 24 to the park's interior on a mission to undertake a comprehensive survey of the rare and unique mammals inhabiting the area.
Nigel Simpson, Curator of Birds at the UK's Bristol Zoo, was in Negros this week to discuss ongoing projects with local partner-environmental organizations including the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation (NFEFI) and the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation (PBCFI).
The main focus of his visit was the Negros Bleeding Heart Pigeon, one of the most critically-endangered birds in the Philippines and number one in Bristol Zoo's top 10 'at risk' species.
In the mid 1980s a group of Negrenses concerned about the vanishing forests of Negros decided to do something about it before it was too late and before there wasn't a single hectare of natural forest left.
Some 25 years later that small movement has grown into one of the most active and important environmental organizations in the country.
But more funding is needed
The Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation (NFEFI), which has worked tirelessly for 25 years to protect and conserve the environment and wildlife of Negros, is calling for more funds to continue its vital work.
"It's an uphill battle", said NFEFI president Paul Lizares. "Despite new laws and the work of our group, the environment is still getting a raw deal from many inhabitants with continued illegal logging, poaching, selling of endangered species and many other 'crimes' against nature.
"We are in danger of running out of time. If future generations are to enjoy their birthright of a beautiful environment we must all pull together and act before it's too late".
Help us restore Negros Forests to its full glory :
Do not support the wildlife trade
Do not buy any products or food made from parts of wild animals
Use only sustainably grown wood
Conserve our resources: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle!
Keep our environment clean by segregating garbage properly and clean-up events.
The Philippines is one of 17 megadiverse countries, with more than 52,117 described species. Over 57% of the major faunal and floral groups occur nowhere else in the world (Oliver & Heaney, 1996) and per hectare may harbor more biological diversity than any other country in the world. (Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Priorities, 2002). In the early 1500s, the Philippines had native forests covering 27 million hectares or 90% of the archipelago’s total area. At the beginning of 1900s the forest cover was reduced to 21 million hectares and decreased to 6.1 million hectares in 1999, representing a loss of 15 million hectares in less than one century (Lasco et al, 2001). Currently, there are approximately 10,773,000 hectares of forests in the Philippines but estimates suggest that 2,031,000 hectraes have been lost in the last 15 years (FAO, 2005). The average annual rate deforestation is 1.4% loss per year between 2000 and 2005.
Biological diversity of the different forest types in the Philippines is significantly high. However, deforestation rates in the Philippines are still one of the highest in the tropics considered as diversity hotspot (Myers et al, 2000). As such, the Philippine forest species and habitats are one of the most endangered in the world and face imminent threat of destruction. This biodiversity is continually under the threat through the habitat destruction, alteration and fragmentation.
The Island of Negros
Negros Island, in the Greater Negros-Panay bio-geographic region can be seen as microcosm of many environmental issues and changes occurring throughout the Philippines. The island supports a unique biodiversity and includes many endemic plants and animals. Despite Negros harboring some of the highest levels of endemism in the Philippines, the island has suffered from excessive deforestation. Recent estimates place forest cover on the island around 50,110 hectares. (Curio, 2002), or less than 4% of its original cover (Turner et al 2001). Today, remaining forest cover on the island of Negros exists mainly in the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP), Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park (MKNP) and Mt. Tainis – lake Balinsasayaw, while a few very limited forest fragments can be found in some other areas. These key forest fragments are threatened further by population pressures and demands for agricultural and other land uses.
Sipalay City, in partnership with the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation (NFEFI), has launched an ambitious four-year project to plant 20 hectares of mangrove forest along the city’s northern coastline.
Signing the MOA on Friday to launch the mangrove project in Sipalay. (l-r) NFEFI president Paul Lizares, EDC's Roberto Cama, Sipalay City Mayor Oscar Montilla Jr, DENR's Chief Regional Executive Director Julian Amador
The reforestation project aims to reverse the degradation and loss of mangrove forests in the area.
May 1, 2011
Some 350 runners from Negros and Panay competed in Saturday's 'I Run For Change'
fun run featuring distances of three, five and 10km plus a special one kilometer
event for children.
The run, to raise funds for two key environmental groups in Negros, was the climax to a month of activities in support of Earth Month.
Organizer Kaila Ledesma said she was delighted with the turn-out for the event.
"We had expected 300 runners so 350 was great. Everyone had a terrific time and much-needed funds were raised for the Philippine Reef & Rainforest Conservation Foundation and Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation" she said.
"The run was also designed to create wider awareness of the urgent need to protect and conserve our fragile environment," she added.