Puerto Princesa City, the Philippines: With funding from the Rainforest Trust USA, Wildlife Enforcement Officers and Volunteers (WEO/Vs) of Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat (CNCH), locally known as Puyos Patrol, participated in the enhanced enforcement training activities to strengthen the current enforcement efforts in CNCH under Protect Puyos Project (P3).
Cleopatra’s Needle in Palawan, the Philippines was declared a Critical Habitat in 2017—at 41,350 hectares, it is the Philippines’ biggest Critical Habitat by 7-fold, home to countless undiscovered fauna and flora, and the sacred indigenous land of the disappearing Batak tribe.
To enhance community enforcers’ patrols, among the activities under the program are:
- Puyos Patrol Launching ceremony (June 4, 2019) – The launching ceremony aimed to introduce and recognize the 40 newly-trained WEO/Vs for each Barangay. In this program, we hand over patrolling equipment and outfit to the enforcement team and this day is the official commencement of their patrolling activities. 2. Wildlife Photography Training (May 29-June 11, 2019) – we already have 12 indigenous WEVs patrolling in CNCH. They are expert spotters of all wildlife, and have proven keen photographers, however, they lack formal training in photography skills, including framing, lighting, timing, and other key elements of photographic documentation. In this activity, w e conducted a 9-day Training Caravan wherein a local expert photographer, in the name of Mr. Erickson Tabayag, spent 1 day and 1 night visiting the 7 communities and trained the WEOs and WEVs on photography skills in their respective forest surrounds to ensure more effective documentation of CNCH biodiversity, as well as illegal activities, during their training patrols. 3. Kitanglad Guard Volunteers Coaching Visit (July 30-31, 2019) – CS visited the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park (MKRNP) in May 2018, and among other key players met Emiliano Lumiston locally popular to the nickname “Blackie” the indigenous leader of MKRNP’s enforcement unit called Kitanglad Guard Volunteers (KGVs), made up of 380 community enforcers, and principal nest spotter of the Philippine Eagle. A delegation from MKRNP is coming tomorrow (July 30-31) led by Sir Blacky to conduct a 2-day Coaching Session. Considering the many social and biological similarities between MKRNP and CNCH, and the deep experience of Sir Blacky and his delegation, their knowledge and stories will boost confidence of our WEO/Vs, and they will feel greatly encouraged by the exchange with the KGVs.
The mission of the project is to preserve the ancestral domain of the disappearing Batak tribe; conserve the natural resources for future generations of Filipinos; protect the largest watershed area of Puerto Princesa City; and safeguard the existence of countless endemic flora and fauna species through the sustainable management of the Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat.