By David Matthew C. Gopilan, DOST-STII
At least 14 unique animals found in Siargao islands take spotlight in a three-day webinar for kids during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) celebration.
In the webinar entitled, "Worth More than Gold: Siargao's Biodiversity", these animals have shown that the country's surfing capital is more than Cloud 9 waves, white-sand beaches, Sugba Lagoon, and Magpupungko Rock Pools.
The webinar is hosted by the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Animation was used to creatively showcase the basic research results and encourage the youth to start protecting the natural resources which they will inherit in the future.
In the animation, each animal briefly talks about themselves on what they are, where they live, and how humans can protect them. Aside from animation effects, the entire presentation was accompanied by video footages from the wild.
One of the featured animals is the Philippines’ native squirrels. Found only in Mindanao and Palawan, and now also in Siargao, the Mindanao tree squirrel eats fresh fruits then disperse the seeds in the forests. The seeds later on grow and become new trees.
Siargao also has thick mangroves where mudcrabs or Scylla serrata thrive. Mudcrabs can be cooked with coconut curry or garlic butter.
Other featured animals in the animation were:
- Philippine duck, Anas luzonica
- Sailfin lizards
- Firefly or alitaptap
- Paka gadikit or Kurixalus appendiculatus
- Orange-fiddler crab
- Saddle butterfly fish, Chaetodon ephippium
- White-eared brown dove
- Lesser long-tongued fruit bat
- Philippine crocodile or Crocodylus mindorensis
- A butterfly species, Ypthirea serrepea
- Fanged river frog, from the genus Limnonectes
- Orange-dotted tuskfish, Protogynous hermaphrodite
The Mindanao tree squirrel, mudcrabs, and the other 12 on the list are just two of the 403 animal species that are found the municipality of Del Carmen, Siargao Islands.
The webinar is also connected to the project, funded by DOST-NRCP, which aims to catalogue diverse flora and fauna in Siargao islands.
There were also at least 100 plant species in Siargao Islands, according to Dr. Cecilia B. Moran, the project leader and professor from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.
“Sa pamamagitan ng video na inyong mapapanood, nais naming isulong o i-promote ang basic research at maipamahagi ang aming mga natuklasan sa isang malikhain at mas naiintindihan ng mga karaniwangi indibidwal at lalong lalo na ng mga mag-aaral. (Through this video that we can all watch, we want to promote basic research and share what we have discovered, in a manner that is creatively presented and is easily understandable by an ordinary individual.),” Dr. Moran said.
The figures are based on the recently concluded research project which was funded by DOST-NRCP.
Appreciating basic research results
Del Carmen Municipal Mayor Engr. Proserfina Matugas-Coro thanks the DOST for supporting ongoing biodiversity studies in Siargao Island.
"Growing up, we have our names for the flora and fauna found in the islands. But it is only recent, with the support of DOST... that finally we have scientific names attached to our endemic species and found new species to science."
She also encouraged all the national government agencies, as well as the academic community and private sector to continuously work together in protecting the natural resources of what Time Magazine’s ‘World’s Greatest Places’.
Lastly, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña emphasizes the role of ecological sustainability as it helps "build an environment with prosperity from within".
"Today we will witness the outstanding works of our scholars and the brightest minds in the Philippines as they instrumentalize the power of knowledge in making harmony and sustainability possible," he said. (By David Matthew C. Gopilan, DOST-STII)
Animation of Mindanao tree squirrel (Screenshot from DOST-NRCP webinar)
Animation of a mud crab in the webinar (Screenshot from DOST-NRCP webinar)
Del Carmen Municipal Mayor Engr. Proserfina Matugas-Coro (Screenshot from DOST-NRCP webinar)
Dr. Cecilia B. Moran of University of Santo Tomas (Screenshot from DOST-NRCP webinar)
Dr. Cecilia B. Moran (Photo from www.ust.edu.ph)