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West Visayas Biodiversity Conservation Programme

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Makbag Forest, Iloilo, Panay

Philippines - West VisayasThe West Visayas faunal region consists of 6 major islands; Negros, Panay, Guimaras, Cebu, Masbate and Ticao. The West Visayas Biodiversity Conservation Programme was initiated in 1990 following wide-ranging field status surveys focused on the Philippine Spotted Deer (Rusa alfredi) and Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons)  by Roger Cox (1985-87). These resulted in the subsequent establishment of three local wildlife rescue and conservation breeding centres (two on Negros, one on Panay). Although also part of the West Visayan islands, for Cebu, almost completely denuded of original forest cover, eventually a separate program, the Cebu Biodiversity Conservation Programme, was initiated in 1998.

Raffelasia, Sibalom N.P., Antique, PanayThe Programme has since expanded to include a wide range of key (and mostly longer-term) activities, including: applied field research, protected areas development, habitat restoration and species’ reintroductions, education-awareness, personnel training and  local institution capacity building. Most of these activities are supported via annual contributions from a wide range of international partner agencies (mostly leading zoos and zoological societies in Europe and the US). Principal local partner agencies include: West Visayas State University (WVSU), Antique Human Development Program (AHDP) and the Philippine Initiative for the Conservation of the Environment and the People, Inc. (PhilInCon) and the Sicogon Development Corporation (SIDECO) on Panay Island; and the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation (NFEFI), Centre for Studies in Tropical Conservation of Silliman University (SU-CenTrop) and Green Mountains Farm (GMF), on Negros Island. A number of likely possible partner agencies have also been identified on Masbate Island, but salient activities (mostly focused on establishment of new LCAs) are still in the early development stages on this island.

COX, C. R. (1985): A field survey of the distribution and conservation status of the wild pig (Sus barbatus cebifrons) and Prince Alfred’s spotted deer (Cervus alfredi) in the Visayan Islands. (Unpubl.) rep. to the IUCN/SSC Pigs and Peccaries Specialist Group: 27 pp.

COX, C. R. (1987a): The Philippines spotted deer and the Visayan warty pig. Oryx. 21 (1): 37-42.

COX, C. R. (1987b): A preliminary survey of the proposed PanayMountainsNational Park. (Unpubl.) rep. to the Zoologischer Garten Berlin: 44 pp.