As mentioned, Platymantis insulatus is listed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered. The field work we will conduct will allow us to gather the first set of robust, quantifiable data for this species that will be used to analyze and report a baseline population, population trends, and updated, comprehensive habitat assessment, and a thorough threat assessment for the species. Meeting this objective is critical for the success of all subsequent goals listed in this section.
Now that the facilities for Phase II of Project Palaka have been established, we will collect individuals of Platymantis insulatus to maintain and breed in captivity, for the purposes of establishing an assurance colony. Such a colony is necessary, as it is unlikely that current threats against the species will be mitigated in time to prevent extinction if solely in-situ conservation measures are enacted.
Using the data from Project Palaka Phase I, as well as the information learned during Project Palaka Phase II, we intend to develop protocols for ex-situ amphibian conservation in the Philippines. These protocols will be shared with other conservation organizations seeking to conduct ex-situ amphibian conservation in the country.
A main objective of Project Palaka will be the education of young, talented Filipino biologists and ecologists via research opportunities and career development. As such, Project Palaka will give 2-4 undergraduate students from the UPLB the opportunity to work at Project Palaka in exchange for using data collected from the project for their thesis projects. Students will also be 4 | P a g e included as co-authors on all published materials. We plan for students to begin working at Project Palaka in the hortorium as part of the UPLB course “Zoo 145”, starting in the spring semester of 2021.
During Phase I of Project Palaka, people living within Mt. Makiling preserve were hired to assist in capturing frogs. This arrangement not only provided a supplemental source of income to these individuals, but resulted in their becoming interested in the project itself, the health of the frogs, etc. We believe that continuing a policy of hiring local people within the community to assist with the capturing of herpetofauna will help deter people from exploitative activities in the forest. We will also attempt to establish open lines of communication with community members living in Gigantes, as we believe that a successful conservation project involves bringing local community members to the table.
Norman Greenhawk has 16 years of experience conducting educational outreach for children in grades K-12 on such topics as biodiversity, ecology, herpetology, and conservation. Project Palaka will conduct bi-monthly visits to schools in Laguna province to teach local children about biodiversity of the Philippines. Additionally, the project will host a minimum of two field trips per year to allow public high school students the chance to see the staff of Project Palaka working with the captive animals, so they might be inspired to pursue a later career in conservation.