Mapping of protected areas on Dinagat Island

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Dinagat cloud rat - by William Oliver

Dinagat cloud rat – by William Oliver

Winter is coming so it is the best time to go to tropics again. The main target of this expedition is not Bohol Island as usual (of course we will stop there as well to see how are our tarsiers and our colleagues doing) but mainly we will focus on Dinagat Island. For the first time we went to Dinagat in 2009 with my colleague Lubomír Peške searching for a unique Dinagat tarsier. Distinct Dinagat tarsier (sub)species was later on described by an American zoologist and his team. In 2012 we went there again and this expedition was super-successful. Me and my husband have rediscovered a Dinagat bushy-tailed cloud rat which wasn´t seen for 37 years. (e.g. you can read more here..)

Philippine belongs to the world´s biodiversity hotspots. Despite the nation’s incredible biodiversity value, many of its natural resources remain unprotected. Smaller islands within the Philippines are rich in rare and endemic species, like Dinagat Island off the north coast of Mindanao, and they are particularly at risk. Recognized as a Key Biodiversity and Important Bird Area with several rare and endemic species, Dinagat Island remains without any formal government-sanctioned protected areas. The island provides a haven to the Critically Endangered Dinagat Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat, the shrew-like Dinagat Gymnure and an endemic form of the Philippine Tarsier.

I am very happy that our rediscovery has helped to raise conservation actions. Last year I was contacted by a local organization and asked to join their project. To save the island’s unique and endangered wildlife, they plan to create four new protected areas that will secure much-needed forest and coastal habitat. Together with Lubomír Peške and Václav Řehák we are going to Dinagat forests. We will share news from this expedition on our website in January after we come back home.

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