A Visayan spotted deer fawn was born recently at the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation's Biodiversity Conservation Center (NFEFI-BCC) in Bacolod City.
The sex of the fawn is not yet determined. It's the fourth offspring from breeding pair Girom and Sandy. There are currently 14 deer at the center.
"The Visayan spotted deer is the largest endemic species of the West Visayas Faunal Region," said Dr. Joanne Justo, the center's curator.
Mother Sandy and Fawn
British conservationist Dr. William Oliver, director of Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc (PBCFI), believes another species of Philippine hornbill will become extinct within the next five years.
Oliver, a frequent visitor to Bacolod as the PBCFI is a partner of the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation (NFEFI), made the prediction at last week’s International Hornbill Conference in Makati.
“It’s inevitable and it’s depressing,” he said “But, with sufficient effort the future can be secured if enough priority is given to these magnificent birds. Having said that I don’t hold out a lot of hope for a large percentage of that species.”
Dr. Joanne Justo, curator of the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation’s (NFEFI) Biodiversity Conservation Center (BCC) in Bacolod City, will join other experts at the 6th International Hornbill Conference at the Ayala Museum and Asian Institute of Management, Makati City on April 24-26.
Organized by the Wild Bird Cub of the Philippines, Hornbill Research Foundation and Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, this is the first time the conference will be held in the Philippines.
While the conference topic may appear to be somewhat esoteric to some, Dr. Justo emphasized that these beautiful birds play a serious role in our ecology as they are important seed dispersers and more needs to be done to protect them.
“A number of species of hornbill are threatened with extinction including the two species that are found in Negros Island,” said Dr. Justo.
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.
An adult Visayan leopard cat
The 2012 Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition (NIBE) to the interior of the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP) ended on Tuesday.
NIBE leader James Sawyer (left) with two members of the team James Benares, mountain leader and Dr. Neil D'Cruze, research leader.
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.
ABS-CBN's Marty Go, Bristol Zoo's Nigel Simpson, NFEFI's Curator Dr. Joanne Justo, NFEFI Trustee Robert Harland
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.
Recently, and fittingly at Nature's Village in Talisay, the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation, Inc (NFEFI) marked it's 25th anniversary with the financial support of sponsor CEMEX.
But more funding is needed
Visayan Bleeding Heart Pigeon, one of the most critically endangered animals in Negros
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".
NFEFI projects are mainly managed by volunteers. Over the years these volunteers have worked to reforest hundreds of hectares especially in the all-important Upper Calimban-Imbang watershed, which provides clean drinking water to Bacolod.
NFEFI has also established one of the country's leading conservation breeding centers. Housed by the Provincial Lagoon in Bacolod City, the center is home to some 120 endangered animals and birds.
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.