Philippines’ dwarf buffalo news update


This video from the Philippines is called The Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis or Mindoro dwarf buffalo).

From AFP news agency:

Rare Dwarf Buffalo Charges Against Extinction

Nov 1, 2014 08:00 AM ET

The population of the Philippines‘ dwarf buffalo, one of the world’s rarest animals, has grown to its largest since efforts to save them from extinction began, conservationists said Friday.

An annual survey counted 382 tamaraws in a protected mountain area this year, an increase from 345 in 2013, according to data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The tamaraw, famed for its distinct v-shaped horns, can be found only in the mountains of Mindoro, a farming island in the central Philippines.

The stocky tamaraw, with its chocolate brown coat, runs wild in the forest and weighs half as much as the more common carabao, which is used by farmers in the Philippines to plough rice fields.

“The tamaraw is the flagship species of the Philippines. It is our moral obligation and international commitment to preserve them,” forest ranger Rodel Boyles, who heads a joint government and private sector conservation effort, told AFP.

“If they are not protected, the species might get wiped out in five years,” he said.

The tamaraw is considered “critically endangered” — two steps away from extinction — by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Hunting and the destruction of their habitat to make way for grazing areas for cattle led to their near decimation, as the population fell from 10,000 in the 1900s to just 154 by 2000, according to the WWF.

New Philippine tarsier discovery


This video from the Philippines is called Pure Nature Specials – Tarsier Primate – The Littlest Alien.

From Science News:

New subspecies of Philippine tarsier discovered

Tiny, nocturnal primate lives in area threatened by mining

by Nsikan Akpan

5:41pm, August 19, 2014

Genetic tests have spotted a new subspecies of Philippine tarsier, one of the world’s smallest — and arguably cutest — primates. Previously, taxonomists had used physical features, such as body proportion and hair color and length, to determine that there are anywhere between three and seven subspecies of this rare nocturnal mammal. To clarify that confusion, Rafe Brownof the University of Kansas in Lawrence and other researchers recently examined DNA samples collected from tarsiers from across the southeastern Philippines.

The comparison divvied the tarsiers into five lineages, including an unexpected variety on Dinagat Island and the Caraga region of nearby Mindanao Island. Wildlife sanctuaries partially encompass the habitats of the four other lineages, but the realm of the Dinagat-Caraga tarsier has historically lacked protection and is threatened by recent expansion of mining activities, the scientists report August 19 in PLOS ONE.

Save amphibians, worldwide alliance


This video says about itself:

Together We Can Save Amphibians

28 November 2013

The Amphibian Survival Alliance is the world’s largest partnership for the protection of amphibians. Our approach is effective and efficient — by creating new reserves in priority sites worldwide we are able to save entire species with modest and targeted investment. Over the next six months we will triple every dollar donated through WorthWild, with a goal of securing 100,000 football fields-worth of amphibian habitat in the Philippines, Madagascar, Ecuador and beyond. Learn more here. Help Spread The Word. Share This Initiative!

From Wildlife Extra:

World’s largest partnership for amphibian conservation formed

Amphibian conservation is proving to be one of the most important conservation challenges of this century, with alarming implications for the health of ecosystems globally.

Which is why Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has joined the Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA) in agreeing to support conservation actions and research to address the global amphibian extinction crisis.

Together they make the world’s largest partnership for amphibian conservation.

Amphibians are key indicators of environmental change and biological health. Their permeable skin absorbs toxic chemicals, which makes them more susceptible to environmental disturbances on land and in water.

Breathing through their skin means they are more directly affected by chemical changes present in our polluted world – so the health of amphibians such as frogs is thought to be indicative of the health of the biosphere as a whole.

Frogs have survived in more or less their current form for 250 million years – surviving asteroid crashes, ice ages and other environmental disasters and disturbances.

They have a natural extinction rate of about one species every 500 years, but shockingly, since 1980 up to 200 species have completely disappeared.

Using a priority-actions framework provided by the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group, this new partnership will facilitate the implementation of conservation initiatives at all scales, from local to global.

“We are delighted to have Fauna & Flora International join the ASA,” said Don Church, Executive Director of the Amphibian Survival Alliance.

“FFI’s long tradition of achieving conservation impact in the field is exactly what amphibians need now.”

Aldrin Mallari, FFI’s Philippines Country Director, added, “We are very happy to have found allies in ASA, to jointly address the issues of such excellent ambassador species for fragile ecosystems.”

Hop on to Amphibian Survival Alliance to find learn more about how organisations like FFI and others around the world are working together within the ASA for amphibians, the environment and people.

Rare seahorses discovery in the Philippines


This video is called The Tiniest Pygmy Seahorses.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare seahorses spotted for first time in Philippine waters

For the first time, two rare species of seahorse have been photographed in the Philippines.

The seahorses, a weedy pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus pontohi) and Severn’s pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus severnsi), were photographed near to the island of Romblon, which lies in the West Philippine Sea, by a citizen scientist.

They were then submitted to the iSeahorse app, which collates sightings from the public, before being verified by the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) Project Seahorse.

The discovery brings the number of seahorse species known to inhabit Philippine waters to 11.

Chai Apale, iSeahorse Philippines coordinator for Project Seahorse, said: “The exciting discovery of these seahorses in new waters demonstrates the important role citizen scientists can play in conservation.

“Seahorses are found across the globe from Hastings to the Seychelles. Now that the holiday season is in full swing, we’re encouraging the public to don their flippers and use the iSeahorse app to record their seahorse sightings.”

The Severn’s pygmy seahorse is a tiny 1.3cm tall – smaller than a sugar cube, while the weedy pygmy seahorse, which was previously only known to inhabit Indonesian waters, is just .1cm taller at 1.4cm.

There is not currently enough data to assess the conservation status of these two species, but it is hoped this news will help conservationists piece together the missing information.

Survivors of Japanese militarist sex slavery demand justice


This video from Australia says about itself:

Australian comfort woman Jan Ruff-O’Herne

Jan Ruff-O’Herne told her shocking story on Australian Story in 2001 – a secret that took her 50 years to come to terms with before finally, she revealed it in a letter to her two daughters.

An idyllic childhood in Java was brought to an abrupt end by the Japanese occupation during Word War Two. Aged 21, she was taken from her family and repeatedly abused, beaten and raped – forced to be a sex slave for the Japanese military.

The term coined for this brutal sex slavery was ‘comfort woman‘.

But since revealing her ‘uncomfortable truth’ Jan Ruff-O’Herne’s suffering has been transformed into something affirmative.

In February this year, this 84-year-old Adelaide grandmother made the long journey to testify before Congress in Washington DC. The Congressional hearing was the pinnacle in her 15-year global campaign to seek justice for ‘comfort women‘.

Now six years since Australian Story first aired her story, Jan Ruff-O’Herne feels she is one step closer to finally achieving her ultimate goal.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

JAPAN: Five former victims of Japan’s wartime sex slavery and their supporters submitted hundreds of official documents to the government today, demanding that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe face up to the country’s past atrocity and formally apologise.

Several support groups backing the women, who are from Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea, said the documents collected from round the world include clear evidence of coercion.

Successive Japanese governments have insisted that there is no proof the women were systematically coerced, citing a lack of official Japanese documents stating so.

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New nature reserve in the Philippines


This video from the Philippines is called Palawan Wildlife.

From Wildlife Extra:

New forest reserve for Philippines

March 2014: An 80,000-acre reserve on Palawan Island in the Philippines is to be created by Rainforest Trust and the Center for Sustainability (a Palawan-based NGO) in association with the Puerto Princesa city government

Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve is a biodiversity hotspot which is home to endemic species such as the Palawan bearcat, Palawan pangolin, and key populations of the Palawan horned frog, Philippine flat-headed frog, and Philippine cockatoo.

In November 2013, a study published in the journal Science identified Palawan as the world’s fourth most ‘irreplaceable’ area for unique and threatened wildlife.

“Rainforests, including those in Palawan, are the richest places on earth, holding the majority of the planet’s biodiversity, yet 100 acres of rainforests around the world are cleared every minute,” said Dr. Paul Salaman, chief executive officer of Rainforest Trust. “Our new project in the Philippines is an extraordinary opportunity to save a vast area of unprotected rainforest near an important UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Center for Sustainability, our local partner, has been laying the groundwork for this project for five years. The support of the city government of Puerto Princesa, recognized for its excellent conservation track record, has been critical. As a result, the new reserve is going to safeguard many rare endemic species.”

Rainforest Trust has already raised over $160,000 and requires an additional $40,000 to fund the development and protection of the reserve. This includes creating a management plan, increasing the number of wardens to enhance law enforcement, and providing sustainable livelihoods for the local Batak tribe.

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