Mari-it Conservation Park, College of Agriculture & Forestry, West Visayas State University (WVSU-CAF; Lambunao, Iloilo, Panay) is the first of the three rescue and breeding centres in the Greater Negros-Panay faunal region. It was established in 1993 as an intervention to the severe decline of several West Visayan endemics. This was made possible with the support of Fauna and Flora International’s (FFI) Philippine Programme, which founded the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Programme (PBCP). In 2008, PBCFI took over the reigns, and we continue to assist Mari-it in the long-term and scientific management of threatened populations originating from Panay Island.
The ultimate aim of Mari-it, as with the other breeding centres, is to restore species within their former distribution ranges, while securing natural habitats for the continual survival of remaining wild populations. To achieve this, Mari-it has strived to develop structured conservation breeding programmes for the most threatened vertebrates, ensure the integration of such programmes with in-situ research and raise local awareness.
Mari-it is proud to bear the title of several “World Firsts” for the successful captive breeding of threatened Visayan endemics. These include the IUCN ‘Critically Endangered’ Visayan Warty Pig in 1994 and Visayan Writhed Hornbill in 2004. It is also the only institution to have bred multiple generations of the Panay bushy-tailed cloud rat. Mari-it has also been hugely successful with breeding the Philippine Spotted Deer and the Visayan Tarictic Hornbill. The captive populations of these two species now represent subjects for a pilot reintroduction project on Sicogon Island.
The Reintroduction Project
For almost two decades, Mari-it has been looking forward to fulfilling this goal of reintroducing its animals back to where they belong. This pilot reintroduction programme involving Mari-it’s spotted deer and tarictic hornbill, is part of the West Visayan Threatened Endemic Species’ Reintroduction Programme orchestrated by PBCFI. Mari-it is honored to maintain the founder breeding stocks and to ensure the success of this project.
For donations and enquiries, contact Mari-it at:
Location: WVSU-CAF, Bgy. Jayubo, Lambunao, Iloilo, Philippines
Mailing address: c/o The Supply Office, West Visayas State University, Luna St., La Paz, Iloilo City, Philippines, 5000
Phone: +63 919 557 7288