In February this year, a composite team of specialists from the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area, and the USAID Protect Wildlife project set up camera traps to establish a pilot wildlife monitoring system in the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape. The system uses standardized and repeated camera trap deployments to assess species populations as indicators of conservation effectiveness. Camera traps are motion-detector cameras, which take thousands of photos a day of animals rarely seen by human eyes.
Data collected through the camera traps are analyzed through Wildlife Insights, a new technology platform that uses artificial intelligence to identify species. Identification of species and further analysis of wildlife populations provide information about species richness per site or location, activity patterns, and community composition or complexity.
In Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, officials aim to use Wildlife Insights to document nocturnal species and determine new species records. In El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area, officials aim to cross-validate results of ongoing biodiversity monitoring activities using prescribed methods of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). In Mount Mantalingahan, the goal is to determine species population in each of the 11 forest formations within the protected landscape.
USAID, through its Protect Wildlife project, and Conservation International are supporting PCSD, DENR and local government partners to develop site-relevant analysis that are tailored to the partners’ needs. If this pilot test is successful, the DENR may decide to deploy Wildlife Insights in other terrestrial protected areas in the Philippines to achieve similar objectives. (PWP/ Meg Yandoc)