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PIA Press Release

DENR launches "Adopt-a-Wildlife-Species" in Central, Eastern Visayas

Tacloban City (December 9) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources launched on Tuesday a species-protection program that is expected to encourage collaboration among government, private sector, and wildlife conservationists.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje said that the Philippines, although one of the 18 most diverse countries in the world, is also a hotspot in terms of biodiversity.

The Adopt-a-Wildlife-Species (AAWS) Program is a perfect opportunity for local government units and other organizations to assist DENR in promoting the conservation of the country's highly diverse floral and faunal population, the Secretary added.

The AAWS program allows the adoption of non-threatened species approved by DENR, with priority given to any of 21 insect, 53 amphibian, 27 reptile, 137 bird, 86 mammal and 873 plant species listed under the program.

The list also includes the Philippine Eagle and crocodile, tamaraw, and waling-waling orchid.

In a statement, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said the Adopt-a-Wildlife-Species (AAWS) program's first beneficiary is the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), the world's smallest primate.

On December 7, 2010, the DENR's Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) signed a memorandum of agreement for protecting the tarsier with CEMEX Philippines Foundation, Inc., and Conservation International (CI)-Philippines.

CEMEX executive director Darwin Mariano and CI-Philippines executive director Romeo Trono signed the agreement at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Nature Center's Bulwagang Buhay Ilang in Quezon City.

As the adopting entity under the program, CEMEX will participate in on-site conservation efforts for the Philippine tarsier and provide funding for the project, "Piloting Conservation Stewardship Program for the Protection of the Philippine Tarsier in Bohol, Samar, and Leyte."

CI-Philippines will implement the pilot project, including developing a work plan and receiving and managing funds from CEMEX.

The DENR regional offices in Central and Eastern Visayas will issue the permits, monitor and evaluate project implementation, help develop and disseminate education materials and articles on the tarsier.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje said that CEMEX Foundation and CI-Philippines are "two of government's tried and tested partners in environmental programs."

The two organizations will raise the bar in providing protection for this endemic mammal, which, though small in size, has been one of the major icons of the uniqueness of Philippine biodiversity, Secretary Paje added.

DENR-PAWB Director Mundita Lim said the pilot project would determine how tarsier population is distributed and look at its seriously threatened habitats. (PIA 8) [top]

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