A team of environmentalists from the UK and the Philippines set off on Saturday on its second biological expedition to the interior of the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP).
The Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition (NIBE) team, which includes scientists, biologists, mountaineers, teachers and logistics experts, first ventured into the park in April 2009.
NFEFI president Paul Lizares, Don Salvador Benedicto Mayor Marxlen dela Cruz, NIBE team leader James Sawyer, Dr. Neil D'Cruze, Dr. David Farrance, Ruth De Vere, Steven Megson, James Benares, Michael de la Peña, NFEFI trustee Robert Harland (l-r standing). Emerson Trinidad, Errol James Mallorca, June Rey Alib, Ernie Mallaoca (l-r front row)
Team leader, London-based James Sawyer, said the findings of the 2009 expedition clearly showed that the center of the park contains some unique habitats.
"These require further scientific study, and that's why we are back," said Sawyer. "We hope the expedition will provide us with more data and analysis that confirms the park is of major biological importance."
The park is home to a multitude of rare and endemic species, while also playing a vital role in watershed protection for surrounding communities.
Among its many activities during the three week expedition, the team will position 20 remote cameras in strategic areas so any movements by rare and threatened species such as Visayan Spotted Deer and Visayan Warty Pigs can be recorded.
The team will also undertake a study of local dung beetles as they feed on the waste of certain animals and they will indicate the presence of those animals.
And using pitfall traps, the team will be able to ascertain which reptiles and amphibians are present in the park.
The expedition is partnered by the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation, Inc (NFEFI) which sponsored the permit enabling the expedition to enter the park.
Said Paul Lizares, president of NFEFI: "We are delighted once again to be working with the NIBE team.
We hope the results will be of further value in the management of this important park as well as help raise its profile even further."
The expedition is also being supported by the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of Oxford University, the University of Texas, the Philippines National Museum and the Natural History Museum of Oxford.
Adding support with logistics and security is Don Salvador Benedicto Mayor Marxlen dela Cruz who praised the collaboration between a team of foreign nationals and local mountain trek leaders in working together to preserve the biodiversity of local forests, particularly in the area of DSB.
The expedition will end on April 19.