Thursday, December 6, 2007

Leyte mountain harbors endangered species in world list

Leyte mountain harbors endangered species in world list
Friday, 21 September 2007
By RUDY A. FERNANDEZThe Philippine Star

Mt Pangasugan

Densely vegetated Mt. Pangasugan, regarded as the “last forest frontier in Eastern Visayas,” still harbors animal species now in the world’s list of endangered fauna.Many species identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources that compose the “Red List of Threatened Animals” can still be found in the Mt. Pangasugan forest area of the Visayas State University in Baybay City, Leyte, VSU reported.

Among the mammal species are the Philippine tarsier, Philippine flying fox and Fischer’s pygmy fruit bat.Mt. Pangasugan, which is a prominent part of the mountain range that transgresses Leyte Island, also is still home to the Philippine eagle-owl, Philippine hawk-eagle, Rufous Lord kingfisher, Philippine leafbird and miniature tit-babbler.“A total of 216 bird species have been recorded, a number of them endangered or vulnerable to extinction,” reported VSU’s Zenaida Gerona.

VSU and German scientists also claim that the mountain has numerous forest fauna that have yet to be identified, reclassified, or recorded. Their most recent breakthroughs were the rediscovery on Mt. Pangasugan of the Philippine tarsier and flying lemur and the identification of the Fischer’s pygmy fruit bat.“New records of the microbat (Hypposideros obscurus) with a length of 5.5 centimeters and body weight of 10 grams and skink (Tropidophorus grayh) were added to the long list of new discoveries,” Gerona said. The new species of the fish Goblidae, namely: Stiphodon olivaceous and Stiphodon surrufus sp. M., were described from the rivers running down Mt. Pangasugan, she added.

The staff of VSU’s Natural History Museum has also collected from the mountain some 43,000 arthropod specimens belonging to 377 families and 500 genera. A total of 434 of these have been classified according to species level. Further, more than 60 specimens of macro­fungi have been recorded, with 47 species belonging to 42 genera.New specimens of orchid, Dendrobium milaniae Fessel and Lueckel, and tiger bettle, Thopeutica milaniae, have been described and named in honor of incumbent VSU president Dr. Paciencia Po-Milan, a multi-awarded, internationally recognized ecologist.Part of the 594-hectare range that encompasses Mt. Pangasugan serves as VSU’s forest and used in support of its instruction, research and extension program in natural resources management.


jade_orchid said...

WOW! There is still much to discover! The world hasn't fully unravelled its charms and treasures. MABUHAY to all the people who never tire of protecting the environment. Let us all do our part in the conservation of our natural resources- especially the rainforests. There is still much to learn. The cure to some of the world's greatest maladies may lie within, waiting to be discovered. If we destroy our rainforests we may never see them at all.

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What to do in Tacloban City, Leyte and nearby

Enjoy the scenic San Juanico Straight . Rent a kayak for a day and paddle your way round the bay of Tacloban, under the beautiful San Juanico Bridge. Kayaks are for rent for around a thousand pesos a day.

Waterfalls in the City
A recent discovery , a majestic 30 ft waterfalls hidden in the mountains of Tigbao and Salvacion just4 Km. outside Tacloban . Maps towards the waterfall site is available. A day trip for picnic and swimming is most ideal.

Nearest to Tacloban is Sohoton National Park in Basey just off San Juanico Bridge. The Tourism Offisce in the Municipality of Basey provides excellent tour guides for a hassle free caving. Ideal for non professional, amateurs, and family trips.The one-man adventure outfit of Joni Bonifacio provides professional caving for the more advetourous. Explore the three caves of Jiabong in one day. The ultimate Langun – Gobingob Cave in Calbiga offers more for serious spelunkers. Langun-Gobingo expedition is usually a 3day – 2 night from one end of the cave to another, but an shorter trip can be tailored. Calbiga is one hour away from Tacloban. Jiabong is an hour- and a half trip from Tacloban

Wall Climbing
Bukid Outdoor Shop offers wall climbing. For 60 pesos you can climb till you drop. They also sell outdoor gears for hiking, camping, mountaineering, and surfing.

Three hours away in Calicoan Guaian E. Samar, is a surfing paradise. Blessed with the thundering waves from the Pacific, local and foreign surfers throng to ride the waves of this new surfing capital. Not to mention that Guaian boast of long stretches of white sand sans the crowd and vendors. A laid back town, with friendly people, and a rich history. Do not miss the historic 300 year-old church in the town plaza.

Skimboarding in Tanauan
The secret is out, Tanauan and Dulag towns in Leyte offer the best spots for skimboarding. Tanauan is a 30-minute jeepney ride from Tacloban while Dulag is an hour away. The town of Tanauan is touted as the skimboarding capital of the Philippines. The town hosts the Tanuan International Skimbording Competition which is held every Easter Sunday of each year. Skimboarding gear is available for rent.

The Leyte Mountain Trail is an outstanding trekking area which starts from the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park of Burauen to Lake Danao Natural Park in Ormoc, a distance of approximately 40 km. This rainforest tour will cover the beautiful lakes of – Mahagnao, Malagsum, Casudsu-ran and Danao. The spectacular Guinaniban Falls is not to be missed. From the crest of the central Amandiwing Mountain Range is breathtaking view of mountains, forests, plains and the island of Samar and Leyte. The Leyte Mountain Trail houses a profusion of tropical flora and fauna including colourful insects, butterflies, dragonflies, bugs, giant millipedes, deers, wild boars, monkeys, birds, orchids, and giant ferns.

Tongonan Hotsprings National
Tongonan Hotsprings National ParkLocated in Ormoc City, 123 km. from Tacloban City (also accessible from Kananga). A valley of geothermal power source that can supply electricity to the whole region when fully developed; cool and relaxing climate; first geothermal power plant to operate in the Philippines.

Lake Danao
Lake DanaoLocated in Ormoc City, 125 km. from Tacloban City. A violin-shaped lake 2,100 feet above sea level and 3 km, long; hemmed by cloud-capped-mountain ranges of undetermined depth; wild animals roaming its surrounding forest; hunter’s paradise; lake said to be the habitat of giant eel.

Cuatro Islas
Located in the towns of Inopacan and Hindang, Leyte; plus pumpboat ride. Four lovely isles namely, Digyo, Apid, Mahaba, and Himokilan bordered by white sandy shore; surrounded by beautiful coral gardens, the best in Leyte island. A total of 287 species of reef building corals can be found in the islands waters; rich fishing ground. Himokilan is the largest island of the Cuatro Islas where the big delicious coconut-cracking crabs called “tatus” are found.

Mt. Pangasuhan Ecopark
Mt. Pangasuhan Ecopark is located in Brgy. Pangasuhan, Baybay, Leyte. One of the few remaining virgin rainforests in the Philippines. It is richly endowed with diverse flora and fauna, many of which are considered endangered species like flying lemurs and tarsiers; a unique and precious ecological asset.