Philippines: Unique, threatened animals found in Philippine forest
Palawan, an island-province of the Philippines near Borneo, is home to many species of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Considered the Philippines’ “last biodiversity frontier” by many researchers and conservation groups, Palawan still holds about 45% of its original forest cover, much of which is old growth.
Currently, a group of more than 30 researchers is surveying the the forests of Cleopatra’s Needle, one of Palawan’s highest mountains. While their expedition is not yet over, the researchers have already found many endemic animals, and hope to use their findings to confer more protection to the Cleopatra’s Needle mountain range.
With their findings, the team members propose to officially declare Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve a Critical Habitat. To be defined as a Critical Habitat, an area must fulfill two requirements: it supports high biodiversity, and the animals and plants that live in it must be threatened.
Cleopatra’s Needle harbors some of the largest remaining tracts of intact forests in the Philippines, Jonah van Beijnen, vice president for the Centre for Sustainability, told mongabay.com. “There are no roads crossing it. Once you cut roads through the forests, the biodiversity decreases automatically,” he added.