Due to prehistorical land connections with mainland Asia, Palawan has a much higher diversity of larger wildlife than the rest of the Philippines, which were always surrounded by the ocean. For example, there are three wild ungulate (hoofed animal) species, and seven wild carnivore species found in the Palawan archipelago. Within the Philippines, pangolins, porcupines, and pheasants can only be found in Palawan, where they are presented by one endemic species respectively.
Due to the oftentimes large body-size, these wildlife species are vulnerable not only to habitat loss, but also to overexploitation, e.g. hunted for meat for local consumption (‘bushmeat’), and poached for the international trade, mostly for medicinal purposes, as pets, for food or curios. Protection of the habitat in these cases is very important, but not enough. Even intact forest areas can be devoid of larger wildlife species, an effect which is known as “empty forest syndrome”. The Green Heart of Palawan Wildlife Conservation Program aims to improve wildlife management through an integrated approach, including improved monitoring, patrolling, habitat management, conservation education, policy formulation and stakeholder involvement. The flagship species for this endeavor is the emblematic, but threatened and little-known Palawan Porcupine. Due to the comprehensive approach of the program, however, a several other wildlife species benefits from the project, including a number of ground-dwelling mammals and birds which are often subject to illegal and unsustainable levels of exploitation, like the Palawan Bearded Pig Sus ahoenobarbus or the Palawan Peacock-pheasant Polyplectron napoleonis.