Members of the current Katala Foundation successfully implemented the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program (PCCP) since 1998 on Rasa Island, Narra, Palawan. The frame condition of this endeavour was a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB) and the Katala Foundation renewed in December 2020. PCCP is implemented in four sites in Palawan namely in the municipalities of Dumaran, Narra, Balabac, as well as within Puerto Princesa. A separate MOA is forged with the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development updated in 2012. A site for reintroduction of cockatoos is currently in preparation on Siargao Island.
Katala Foundation Incorporated (KFI) is duly registered under the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 19, 2002 under SEC No. CN200253626.
Its name Katala is derived from the local name of the Philippine Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia. The Philippine Cockatoo, Katala as locally known, is endemic to the Philippines. Cockatoo population crashed drastically in the late 1980s, and presently between 840-1,210 individuals are left in the wild, after populations recovered markedly in PCCP project sites; still, the species is classified critically endangered by the World Conservation Union or the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Main threats to its survival are:
- Poaching for pet trade
- Habitat destruction
- Direct persecution
Katala Foundation, Inc., a non-profit, non-stock, non-governmental organization, has been active in protecting and conserving threatened endemic wildlife, particularly the Philippine Cockatoo, Palawan Forest Turtle, Palawan Porcupine, Calamian Deer and Balabac Mouse-deer, Palawan Pangolin and Palawan Hornbill where the last strongholds of the respective species can be found.
Katala Foundation’s niche developed over the years of research, advocacy and development works in order to protect and conserve the biological diversity along with people. Its vision is to effect conservation of biological resources through active community involvement – conserving with people. To attain this vision, Katala Foundation employs participatory and ecosystemic approaches to all its programs and activities.
VISION AND MISION
KFI’s vision is to effect conservation of biological resources through active community involvement – conserving with people!
STRATEGIES AND APPROACHES
In particular, strategies are aimed to:
- Capacitate and empower local partners and communities as effective conservation managers;
- Increase level of knowledge on biodiversity conservation through intensive conservation education activities and thereby influencing positive attitudes and behaviours towards the environment;
- Implement effective projects and programs to halt biodiversity decline;
- Conduct scientific research along with local partners applying international standards and methodologies to fill up research gaps and recommend the most appropriate action for decision makers to lead;
- Develop proactive leadership among local partners; and
- Strengthen the organization through staff development.
ON-GOING PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS IMPLEMENTED
Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program (PCCP), since 1998: Species conservation program aimed to conserve the critically endangered Philippine Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia from extinction through, e.g. nest protection, identification, protection and management of key conservation sites, habitat restoration, conservation education, community involvement, rescue of individual birds, translocation, conservation breeding for later re-introduction, etc. Its implementation is under the framework of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DENR-BMB and the KFI and PCSD and the KFI.
Under this program is a special project on the Palawan Hornbill conservation. The Palawan Hornbill Acanthoceros marchei shares the habitat of the Philippine Cockatoo and other threatened wildlife. The project sites involved in this special project are Dumaran, Pandanan and Bugsuk Islands and the lowland forests within the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm.
Key sponsors and partners: North of England Zoological Society Chester Zoo, Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (ZGAP, incl. Fonds fuer Bedrohte Papageien and Strunden-Papageien-Stiftung), Loro Parque Fundacion (LPF), ZooParc de Beauval and Conservation Association (Association Beauval Conservation et Recherche), Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), Zoo Landau in der Pfalz; Stadtholding Landau, Germany, Whitley Fund for Nature, Segre Fondacion, Municipalities of Narra, Dumaran, and Balabac, Cockatoo Downs, Parrots International, Jewelmer Corporation, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, Puerto Princesa, anonymous donors, DENR, and PCSDS.
Palawan Freshwater Turtle Conservation Project (PFTCP), since 2007: This joint undertaking aims to conserve Palawan freshwater turtle populations and habitats, to conduct scientific research on biology and management of these turtles and its habitats and to educate and capacitate stakeholders for its conservation. Ex-situ conservation and conservation breeding is addressed at KIEBC in Narra. A MOA with PCSDS provides the legal basis to obtain confiscated turtles from recognized rescue centers and/or to accommodate otherwise rescued turtles to the center. Current activities give special attention to the Palawan-endemic critically endangered Palawan Forest Turtle Siebenrockiella leytensis (Pagong or Bakoko).
Key sponsors and partners: Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), Full Circle Foundation (FCF), Rainforest Trust (RT), Turtle Conservancy (TC), Federal Ministry for Economy Cooperation and Development (BMZ) & Carpus eV., IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, North of England Zoological Society Chester Zoo (NEZS), Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (ZGAP), PCSDS, DENR, and the Municipalities/City of Dumaran, Narra, Puerto Princesa City, Roxas, San Vicente, and Taytay.
Katala Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation (KIEBC), since 2006: The overall goal of KIEBC is conserving Palawan’s biodiversity through establishment of an education, conservation and research institution in close vicinity to threatened target species and ecosystems. Its specific objectives are: 1) To serve as a venue for conservation education with local population, youth, national and international visitors as main target groups. 2) To develop and implement protocols for rescue, conservation breeding, habitat restoration, and eventually reintroduction of selected highly threatened wild species of Palawan, like Philippine Cockatoo or Philippine freshwater turtles. 3) To create an institution for research on applied ecology and biodiversity conservation, with focus on threatened species management, priority area conservation, and restoration. Another component within KIEBC aims to establish an arboretum and forest restoration site in Katala Institute. This will contribute to the ex-situ conservation of highly threatened plant species in Palawan, and will at the same time create a gene pool for rare species and a source of seeds for future forest restoration projects on the island.
Key sponsors and partners: Municipality of Narra, HKFdn, Loro Parque Fundacion (LPF), Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), Full Circle Foundation (FCF), North of England Zoological Society Chester Zoo, Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (ZGAP, incl. Fonds fuer Bedrohte Papageien and Strunden-Papageien-Stiftung), Zoo Landau, Wroclaw Zoo, ZooParc de Beauval and Conservation Association (Association Beauval Conservation et Recherche), European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), DENR, PCSDS.
Palawan Pangolin Conservation Program: (PPCP). This program addresses the conservation needs of the endemic Palawan Pangolin Manis culionensis. An initial study on the trade of the species in Southern Palawan was conducted in collaboration with TRAFFIC Southeast Asia in 2008. Studies on the “Phylogeny and Taxonomic Status of the Palawan Pangolin” and on “Conservation Status of the Palawan pangolin Manis culionensis” followed. In 2017, KFI was issued a SEP Clearance for the entire program aimed at conserving Palawan Pangolin populations and their habitats; conducting scientific research on the biology, ecology and management of the Palawan Pangolin and its habitats, and socio economic frame conditions leading to threats and strategies for conservation; and educating and capacitating stakeholders PPCP on natural resource management and conservation, rehabilitation/restoration of species habitats, and environmental awareness.
Key sponsors and partners: Full Circle Foundation (FCF), Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, IUCN Asian Species Action Partnership (ASAP),Municipalities of Aborlan, Narra, Roxas, Rizal, Dumaran, San Vicente, Dumaran, Taytay and the City of Puerto Princesa, PCSDS and DENR.
Palawan Deer Research and Conservation Program (PDRCP), since September 2016: This is joint project of the PCSDS and the KFI to protect and conserve the two endemic ungulate species to the Palawan Faunal Region: Calamian Deer Axis calamianensis and the Balabac Mouse-deer Tragulus nigricans. Calamian Deer inhabit mostly dry woodland and forest-grassland mosaics of the Calamian island group. The deer could serve as flagship species for these highly threatened lowland vegetation formations including associated flora and fauna. The Balabac Mouse-deer is likewise restricted to lowland forests of the Balabac group of islands, where it is only recorded from Balabac, Ramos and Bugsuk. Both species are currently listed as “Endangered” (IUCN, 2019), due to ongoing direct persecution mainly for bushmeat, habitat destruction and degradation, combined with their very small ranges. The main objective of the first phase of the proposed program was to provide updated information on population and distribution of the two target species to inform future conservation interventions. This information was generated through conduct of hunter interviews and by population surveys in selected representative sites. The second phase of the program continues parts of the research component, but involves implementation, most important of all the establishment of a captive population for Calamian Deer as assurance against imminent danger of extinction in the wild, but also conservation education campaigns and assessments for potential reintroduction sites.
Key sponsors and partners: North of England Zoological Society/Zoological Gardens Chester (NEZS), Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (ZGAP), Wroclaw Zoo and Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Phoenix Zoo, Zoo Landau in der Pfalz, Municipalities of Balabac, Busuanga, Coron, and Culion, LGU Narra, Jewelmer Corporation, anonymous donors, Kingfisher Park, PCSDS and DENR.
Forest rehabilitation and protection (since 2007): Activities focus on the protection and rehabilitation of former or existing tropical forest areas with the aim of sequestering carbon and of creating or preserving habitats of threatened wildlife species in the Philippines and hence contribute to the conservation of climate and biological diversity. KFI enters into long-term agreements with local communities in order to facilitate rehabilitation of degraded or long-term persistence of existing forests in the Philippines in mutual agreement with the donor. Project approaches include: a) Selection of suitable areas based on the potential for carbon sequestration or the actual carbon stock and the value for biodiversity conservation; b) Management of the acquired areas; c) Acquisition of mature forests – in case the forests are in danger of conversion or degradation in a short or middle term (“avoided deforestation”); d) Monitoring of acquired areas; e) Forest inventories after the intervention to assess standing crop and therefore carbon in the living biomass; d) Assessment of selected groups of plants and animals with focus on occurrence of threatened species. Efforts also include the establishment of a Critical Habitat in Dumaran Island in an area that is of global conservation concern and an importation watershed for Dumaran.
Key sponsors and partners: Zoo Landau in der Pfalz; Stadtholding Landau, Germany, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, La Ola Leisure Bath, Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, anonymous donors.
Green Heart of Palawan Wildlife Conservation Program (since 2020): This program is located at the heart of Palawan’s forests – the Victoria Anepa’an Mountain Range (VAMR).The goal is to improve the conservation status of threatened and endemic ground-living wildlife in three lowland sites of the Victoria Anepa’an Mountain Range through the implementation of a comprehensive conservation project, including status assessments through camera trapping, conservation education campaigns, community involvement and patrols, capacity building for stakeholders, advocacy and policy formulation. The flagship species of this program is the Palawan Porcupine Hystrix pumila, an endemic to Palawan and listed Vulnerable by the IUCN.
Key sponsors and partners: International Container Terminal Services Incorporated Foundation (ICTSI), PCSD, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, City of Puerto Princesa, Municipalities of Aborlan and Narra.