Project Palaka is the first ex-situ amphibian conservation program in the Philippines. We began as a US Fulbright project, in partnership with the University of the Philippines, Los Banos, and in consultation with Avilon Zoo and researchers at the National Museum of Natural History. We are a group of Filipino and US researchers, ecologists, and herpetologists dedicated to focusing on utilizing captive-breeding efforts to help protect endemic and native Philippine amphibians.
The Philippines are a biodiversity hotspot, and approximately 70-80% of the amphibians found in there are endemic. Amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates, with 41% of all species worldwide being threatened by the synergistic effects of climate change, chytridiomycosis, and habitat loss. Protecting endangered amphibians requires a multifaceted approach. One conservation method that has been underutilized for Philippine amphibians is captive breeding and reintroductions. Project Palaka seeks fill this niche, while working with other conservation partners throughout the Philippines, Asia, and the USA to develop collaborative efforts to conserve and protect the unique biodiversity of the Philippine islands.
What We Do
Our primary goal is to establish captive breeding programs for threatened and endangered Philippine amphibians. Phase I of our project was initiated in 2015, and focused on using analog species from the Mt. Makiling area to prove the feasibility of establishing an ex-situ conservation program for amphibians. Housed in the hortorium of the UPLB Museum of Natural History, we focused primarily on maintaining Platymantids in captivity.
Phase II of our project will focus primarily on establishing assurance colonies of Platymantis insulatus (IUCN Critically-Endangered) in captivity, conducting habitat and threat assessments for the species on Gigantes islands, and developing a long-term conservation plan that includes threat mitigation and the introduction of offspring produced in captivity into the wild. We will also be establishing assurance colonies of threatened Platymantids from the Mt. Banahao region.
Lastly, Project Palaka is developing an educational outreach program to bring nature into the classroom, via presentations and lectures for elementary, middle, and high school students in the Laguna province.
Where We Work
Philippines - Luzon island (several sites, mainly mountain ecosystems) and Gigantes Islands (Karst forest, cave ecosystems)