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The Butaan Project Print E-mail

Giant frugivorous monitor lizards only live in the Philippines and are under serious threat from habitat destruction. The butaan of Polillo Island are disappearing fast! We developed a range of non-intrusive methods to study these animals on Polillo Island and have used them to explore other areas of the Philippines, with very exciting results. 

 

butanvideo1.jpgThe butaan has a reputation throughout its range for being delicious to eat and as a result it is often heavily hunted in degraded forests where the animals are easy to find. Very little of the forest that still exists is suitable for the butaan. On Polillo only tiny patches of forest remain and the butaan are disappearing fast. Click here to access the Butaan Project 

 

  

  

 

     

  

 

 

The butaan is endangered throughout its range but the situation on Polillo Island is critical. Very little forest remains and unprotected areas are being rapidly destroyed. When corridors between patches break down the lizards soon disappear. Click here to access the Butaan Project  

 

 

 

 
ImageThanks to vigorous publicity campaigns, most people on Polillo are now aware that the butaan is a very rare animal that is precious to the island. Hunting of the species has been greatly reduced but populations continue to plummet as habitat is lost. The Philippines has lost over 95% of its lowland forest over the last fifty years and the fragments that remain tend to be small, isolated and unsuitable for butaan.On the mainland of Luzon we have discovered new form of giant fruit-eating lizard in forests that are being logged on a massive scale. Click here to access the Butaan Project 
 

 

 Image Because giant fruit-eating lizards are so shy they are easily overlooked by scientists. New species still await discovery but many more have probably disappeared without ever being identified. The situation for the remaining populations is critical. We desperately need your help. Although the other endangered monitor lizard (the famous Komodo dragon) has received vast amounts of funding to aid its conservation, the butaan has been almost entirely neglected. Just $10 will make a difference! Please consider helping us. We will acknowledge your support here and in subsequent publications and keep you informed of all developments.

Click here to access the Butaan Project  

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About Mampam
Fish of Bui National Park

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According to many authoritative atlases and maps, Bui National Park is already underwater! But the hydro electric dam first planned in the 1920s was not started until August 24th 2007.  Now work has begun on a controversial hydroelectric dam that will destroy the riverine habitat of the park. Many millions of $$ were spent on the environmental impact assessment, but fortunately a team of poachers wildlife staff and students produced a much better guide to the Fishes of Bui National Park

 
Help Mampam

Please help us in our conservation efforts by making a small donation to us through PayPal... every little bit helps!

 

 
The Butaan Project
The Butaan Project - Foraging behaviour

butaan7.jpgWe use feces to investigate diet and activity areas of butaan. In total we have examined more than 1500 samples, possibly the largest ever collected for a single population of reptiles.  Butaan and their relatives are huge specialised frugivores, much bigger than any other specialised frugivorous animal in  the Philippines. They need a constant supply of fruit but lack the wings that allow other frugivores to forage in different forest fragments. Large and immobile, the butaan depends on a very narrow range of foods.

Read more...
 

 

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