The Philippine Spotted Deer (Cervus alfredi) owes its scientific name to Duke Alfred of Edinburgh, who lived in the 19th century. Unfortunately this noble connection didn’t prevent it from becoming one of the globally most threatened deer species today. Only 100 to 200 individuals survive on the islands Negros and Panay in the centre of the Philippine archipelago. Although the populations are officially protected by law, they are nevertheless permanently threatened by hunters. Serious forest destruction, which has already reached the last areas where the species survives, only exacerbates the alarming situation of this deer species.
As the largest mammal species on these islands, the deer plays an important role as ambassador for the alarming situation of the entire island ecosystem. The massive habitat destruction does not just affect the wildlife. Nowadays the local population also feel the effects of erosion caused by the continuing massive forest loss, for example in the increasing number of scree landslides and shortages of water. Effective conservation measures for the Philippine Spotted Deer would not only target species conservation, but would help to improve the local population’s standard of living at the same time.
The Prince-Alfred-Conservation Project is headed by William Oliver, director of the “Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Programme”, which is run by the British nature conservation organisation Fauna & Flora International. The “SurvivalPartner” Sparda-Bank Münster eG supports the project, which puts its main emphasis on the following activities:
- Increasing lobbying for the planned “Panay Mountains National Park”, with an area of 60,000 hectares on the island of Panay
- Establishing and breeding of a captive population with the long-term goal of re-introduction into suitable areas and re-stocking of existing populations
- Intensifying information campaigns and environmental education of the local population in the species conservation centre in Bacolod
- Training of Philippine biologists and veterinarians on site, to enable local specialists to take up jobs that will be established as part of the conservation project
- Testing ecologically sound cultivation methods as alternative income sources
The Species Conservation Foundation would like to thank the Sparda-Bank Münster eG for its generous support.