Field Museum Participates in Development of Comprehensive Website on Philippine Mammals
For Immediate Release - Media Alert
Contact: Field Museum PR Department
(312) 665-7100, email@example.com
A new website that provides detailed information, photographs and maps about the extraordinary mammal fauna of the Philippines will be launched on March 26, 2010 as part of the celebrations in the Philippines for the International Year of Biodiversity.
The website is the result of a collaboration between The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines, with participation by museums, universities, and NGOs in the Philippines and United States. It is based on 10 years of field studies. The website itself has taken two years to produce, and will replace a very limited version that has been in place since 2002. Most international organizations list the Philippines as being one of the most critical “hot spots” for conservation in the world.
According to Dr. Lawrence Heaney, leader of the project and Curator of Mammals at The Field Museum, “With over 206 species, 117 of which live nowhere else, the concentration of unique mammal species in the Philippines may be the highest in any country. They include tiny mice with two sets of whiskers, large tree-living animals with long, lush coats of shiny black fur, the largest bats in the world, bats with bizarrely beautiful folds of skin around their nostrils, and dozen of other strange but wonderful species.”
According to Dr. T. Mundita Lim, Director of the DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, “Biological surveys in national parks and remote mountains during the last 10 years have produced 15 formally named, previously unknown species, as well as producing a wealth of information about dozens of poorly known Philippine species. Making the results of these studies available is a major step forward in allowing successful management and conservation of the biological resources of the Philippines.”
Each of the 206 native species of mammals has a page with color photographs, a detailed map, information on how to identify the species, a summary of its ecology and habitat, and an assessment of its conservation status. Other sections provide photos of all major types of habitats.
Dr. M. Louella Dolar, author of the section on the 27 species of marine mammals, said, “The Philippines has one of the highest marine mammal diversity in the world. The list includes the magnificent blue whale, the humpback whale, the endangered sperm whale, the shy and critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin, 22 other cetaceans, and the dugong. Almost nothing was known about them 20 years ago, but today, people are becoming more aware of their presence and have enjoyed watching them in the wild. The dolphin and whale watching enterprise has grown in recent years, and at least in two places, has replaced whale hunting.”
“This website will also serve as a high-quality source of information to teachers and students all over the Philippines, and will help to promote eco-tourism,” said Dr. Lim. “Cooperative projects such as this are among the most effective ways for the DENR to produce the information that is needed to protect our environment.”