The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau concluded its year-long celebration of the Bureau’s 25th Founding Anniversary with a bang. Technically and financially supported by the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), the Bureau launched on 12 December 2012 the 270+ species of endemic wildlife discovered during the first 25 years of PAWB’s existence.

Held at the DENR Social Hall, DENR Main Building in Quezon City, the event’s highlight was the recognition of the seventy-eight local and foreign scientists and researchers who worked hard and described these 270+ species of Philippine wildlife considered new to science. This figure does not yet include the many terrestrial wild flora and fauna species awaiting description or publication, as well as the equally abundant aquatic and marine species discovered in the past quarter of a decade.

Among the honorees present during the event and received a Certificate of Recognition were: former DENR Secretary and CHED Commissioner Angel C. Alcala of Silliman University; Dr. Arvin Diesmos of the National Museum of the Philippines; Mr. Danilo Balete of Laksang Buhay; Rafe Brown of Kansas University; Dr. Perry Ong and Mariano Duya of the University of the Philippines Diliman; Philip Godfrey Jakosalem and Liza M. Paguntalan of Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc.; Dr. Victor Amoroso of the Central Mindanao University; and, Ulysses Ferreras of the Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society, Inc.  Awardees who were not able to attend include Dr. Lawrence Heaney of the Field Museum of Natural History; Dr. Nina R. Ingle of the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Philippines; Dr. Edwino S. Fernando of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources of the University of the Philippines Los Baños; and, Dr. Julie Barcelona of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.  Exhibits and initial copies of booklets featuring the newly discovered species were unveiled to mark the historic event. At least a dozen of new species of terrestrial wildlife are being discovered in the Philippines each year affirming the country’s position as a mega-diverse country. (Josefina L. de Leon & Nermalie M. Lita, Photos courtesy of Cecille Garcia & Pola Bumanglag)