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Southern Luzon Biodiversity Conservation Programme

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Lakescape with fishpen, Lake Taal

Philippines - Southern LuzonThe Southern Luzon Biodiversity Conservation Programme was initiated in 2000 with a region-wide faunal survey, tracking the distribution of Gray’s Monitor Lizard (Varanus olivaceous), whilst also collecting hunter-interview and other data on other key species in this region. This project, which was funded by AZA-CEF through Cincinnati Zoo, also involved: visits to the main offshore islands of Marinduque, Burias, Catanduanes and Alabat, and most remaining wildlife habitats in the region; extensive consultations with relevant Local Government Units (LGUs) and NGOs throughout the region; and collation and syntheses of existing published and unpublished reports.

It resulted in the selection and short-listing of a range of priority sites and follow-up activities, and the organisation of a proposed new foundation, the South Luzon Biodiversity Conservation Foundation (SLBCFI), to assist implementation of these recommendations. The most important follow-up projects undertaken include detailed biodiversity surveys and development of enhanced future protection measures for Mt. Malinao in Albay Province, which is perhaps the single-most important forest tract in this region (though previously overlooked by other researchers), and various research and awareness projects focused on the threatened endemic vertebrates of Lake Taal.