Sunday, October 9, 2016

Safeguarding the Endangered Rats and Bats of Dinagat Island

ALL donations doubled! Every $1 you donate today to save rainforest habitat on Dinagat Island will be matched with $1 from an anonymous supporter.

Composed of a sprawling network of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines contain lowland tropical rainforest, wetlands, mangroves and thousands of miles of coastline. The astounding variety of habitats makes the country a thriving hotspot for biodiversity with the highest rate of new animal species being discovered, as 15 new mammal species were discovered just in the last 10 years.
Despite the nation’s incredible biodiversity value, many of its natural resources remain unprotected. Smaller islands within the Philippines are rich in rare and endemic species, like Dinagat Island off the north coast of Mindanao, and they are particularly at risk. Recognized as a Key Biodiversity and Important Bird Area with several rare and endemic species, Dinagat Island remains without any formal government-sanctioned protected areas. The island provides a haven to the Critically Endangered Dinagat Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat, the shrew-like Dinagat Gymnure and an endemic form of the Philippine Tarsier.

To save the island’s unique and endangered wildlife, Rainforest Trust is working with local partner Green Mindanao to create four new protected areas that will secure much-needed forest and coastal habitat. Given the global downturn in commodities, the locally progressive government is poised to seize this opportunity to work together with local mining companies for the mutual benefit of both conservation and sustainable development on Dinagat Island.
Known for its lush rainforests, Dinagat Island is home to 400 plant and over 100 bird species, including the Vulnerable Philippine Duck and Mindanao Broadbill and the Near Threatened Writhed Hornbill. Twenty species of vertebrates and 13 species of plants that occur here are threatened with extinction.
The four proposed protected areas are home to a wealth of unique and rare wildlife species. Found only in the Philippines, the Endangered Giant Golden-crowned Flying Fox, one of the largest bats in the world with more than a five-foot wingspan, today faces the real possibility of extinction due to poaching and destruction of forest habitat. Additionally, the targeted areas will safeguard at least two incredibly rare and endemic species of rodents, including the Critically Endangered Dinagat Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat and the Endangered Dinagat Gymnure. Also found in the area, the Near Threatened Philippine Tarsier may soon be classified as a distinct and threatened species of primate.
A wide variety of marine life is also found along Dinagat Island’s many bays, lagoons and coastal habitats, such as Dugongs, Manta Rays, Whale Sharks, sea turtles and dolphins.

Newly-paved road makes way for Dinagat Island tourism growth

MANILA, Oct. 8 -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has completed a road improvement project amounting to P425-million, covering the improvement of 11 kilometers Dinagat-Loreto Road connecting the municipalities Cagdianao, San Jose, Basilisa, Libjo, Tubajon and Loreto in Dinagat Islands.
With better road access leading to untouched tourism destinations, Dinagat Islands Province in the south side of Leyte Gulf in Caraga Region is now ready to accommodate more local and international visitors.
The road project involves the concreting and shoulder paving, with drainage facilities and slope protection component using bio-engineering solutions to protect and stabilize the area from soil erosion.
DPWH Region 13 Director Danilo E. Versola said tourism and socio-economic development in Dinagat Islands is seen to improve with the recently completed road project as it will hasten land travel to world-class tourist destinations.
Dubbed as the “Mystical Island Province of Love”, Dinagat Islands is home of a bat sanctuary located in the town of Tubajon; a Disney-like structure called White Castle in San Jose; Kisses Islets in Libjo, and mesmerizing beaches with rock formations in the town of Basilisa among many others. (DPWH)