Talarak Foundation 2014 Second Quarter Report

Talarak Foundation 2014 Second Quarter Report
The Talarak Foundation Inc. (TFI) was formally inaugurated in 2010, with the idea of developing a satellite world class conservation breeding and research centre of ‘the Biodiversity Conservation Centre (BCC)’ Bacolod which operates under Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Programme (PBCP) of Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. (PBCFI) headed by Mr. William Oliver. However, this project was physically initiated in 2008 as a duly accredited Wildlife Rescue Centre of Department of Environment and Natural Recourses (DENR) in the form of off-set branch of Feather Park Inc. (FPI) - a DENR registered wildlife farm.
Talarak Foundation is located in the heart of the West Visayas Faunal Region - Central West coast of Negros Island which is the one of the world’s highest conservation priority areas in terms of both numbers of threatened endemic taxa and degrees of threat. 
The name of the Foundation “Talarak” is derived from the local name of one of the world most threatened species of hornbill, Critically Endangered Walden’s Hornbill also called Visayan Writhed Hornbill (Aceros waldeni) which is endemic to West Visayan faunal region and is now extinct in all but two islands of at least six islands of its former distribution. The name “Talarak” use to be commonly used for this hornbill in the area of central Negros where the foundation and conservation breeding centre has its headquarters. Hereby Talarak - Alias Critically Endangered Aceros waldeni (which is most likely to be very close to local extinction on the island of Negros) then become a flagship species for all the other West Visayan and other threatened Philippine endemic species which is Talarak Foundation dedicated to conserve. 
 
Our main goal is to focus on threatened Visayan endemic taxa in particular, and on highly threatened Philippine endemic species in general. With the guidance of more senior and experienced members of PBCFI we would like to contribute as much as we can to build up a strong foundation of genetically diverse captive stock which can possibly serve for safe up populations, reintroduction in wisely selected areas and/or education and ambassador purposes. Our goal/objective is also to actively cooperate or/and assist with local communities and/or agencies and non-government as well as government organizations in the Island of Negros and elsewhere in the Philippines as well as in other countries in south east Asia and Europe to develop self-sustaining project based on ecotourism, sustainable environmentally non-destructive livelihood for communities within protected areas and sustainable managing of wildlife recourses and other activities. At last but not the least Talarak Foundation also would like to give an assisting hand to Philippine government agencies enforcing the wildlife conservation activities in the country represented by Department of Environment and Natural Recourses (DENR) with their struggle with very limited recourses in both financial as well as technical expertise matters in the time when the responsibility and expectation stakes in wildlife protection law enforcement are raised far too high for them alone to oblige.
 
Species Recovery Programs:
 
Visayan Spotted Deer (Rusa alfredi) CP
Through the initial help of PBCFI, Talarak Foundation got officially involved (Philippine) in Visayan Spotted Deer conservation program. Current population is (as of 30.6.2014) 16 (5.11) animals from which 4 (0.4) are wild born founders either donated by private owners who have kept them for pet purposes or confiscated by DENR. All of the founder stock came from Hinobaan, Sipalay and Candoni area where one of the large patches of lowland rainforest persisted until very recently regrettably is almost gone now. However, small population of Spotted Deer is still surviving the habitat loss and the prevalent hunting pressure. In July 2013 first ever captive stock exchange between Talarak Foundation and NFEFI – BCC was accomplished with one adult female departing from TFI and two mature males arriving from NFEFI – BCC.
 
Visayan Warty Pigs (Sus cebifrons negrinus) CP
The trio of Visayan Warty Pigs were transferred on breeding loan from NFEFI - BCC Bacolod on 12th June 2011 as part of the first ever breading loan agreement between these two institutions for this species. Both of the females gave birth several times (once a year) since then with 15 (6.7.2) piglets in total were born from which 10 survived. On 13th May 15 months old female accidentally entered next enclosure and was killed by two older 3 years old females. Recent stock is then 13 animals (6.7).
 
Philippine Hornbills CP
Visayan Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides panini panini)
The centre started with one juvenile female rescued by DENR Environment Officer of Kabankalan City Lucia D. Salazar from a private person who attempted to smuggle it together with 19 other hornbills of 3 different species and 11 columbids of 3 different species in (RORO Bus) which was heading to Manila. This way of illegal wildlife trafficking is the most commonly used by smugglers and Kabankalan City being both an important junction as well as stop over for these buses became an important spot for law enforcement in the country. The confiscation of large number of predominantly threatened wildlife species on 20th September 2008 was an important trigger point for establishment of TFI as a duly-accredited DENR wildlife rescue centre which gain its legal status in December 2008.
The recent population of Visayan Tarictic Hornbills in Talarak Foundation is 30 (12.18); 28 chicks have been hatched while 20 successfully fledged since January 2009. Two pairs were transferred to Talarak Satellite Conservation Breeding Centre in Punta Ballo Sipalay City in May 2012 to initiate breeding programme of this species in this facility. For 2014 breeding season, five pairs exhibited breeding behaviour but only three pairs successfully hatched chicks; the two other pairs had infertile eggs. We have recorded two unusual observations during this breeding season. One female laid a second clutch one month after successful fledging its first clutch which was composed of three chicks. She laid a single egg on her second clutch which hatched 27 days later; a male chick is being reared at the moment. Interestingly, the mother left the nest box when the chick was only 6 weeks old and unable to fly yet. Nevertheless, both parents continue feeding and rearing the chick. We are aware of previous cases of double clutching in NFEFI-BCC but these were always infertile. Another extraordinary record this season was the successful fledging of five chicks from a single pair; all chicks were reared by their parents. This is the first ever record of successful fledging of five chicks from a single clutch on this species. The first three female chicks fledged on 15th May while the remaining two (1.1) chicks fledged 6 days later. 
 
Visayan Writhed Hornbill (Aceros waldeni)
There are currently 8 (5.3) Visayan writhed hornbills in the Centre following the donation of one pair of mature individual and four juveniles by private individual last June. The older pair kept at the Centre since 2011 was provided with nesting box since last year. Breeding activity started in January with repeated copulations observed between the pair. The female entered the nest and stayed there for some time but the pair did not seal the nest and there was no egg laid yet.
 
Other Hornbill Species
Mindanao Writhed Hornbill (Aceros leucocephalus)
Current population of this Near Threatened Mindanao endemic species is 18 (5.10.3), 7 (1.3.3) of which were captive born in 2013 and 2014. Two breeding pairs are being kept at TFI while two other pairs and three females are housed in Punta Ballo Satellite Rescue and Breeding Centre to provide more space for breeding of highly threatened West Visayan species at TFI. 
During this breeding season two females sealed themselves in the nestboxes provided; these are the same females that successfully bred in 2013. The first females sealed in nest on 27th March while the second female on 16th April. Presence of three chicks were confirmed on18th May, two chicks in one box and other one in the second box.
 
Mindanao Rufous Hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax mindanensis) 
Two pairs and one juvenile were transferred to Punta Ballo Satellite rescue & breeding Centre for the same reason as above. With one adult pair remaining in the Centre the current stock is 7 (4.3).
 
Negros Bleeding-heart Pigeon (Gallicolumba keayi) CP
Three pairs of this Critically Endangered West Visayan endemic species were transferred to the Centre on 3rd March 2014. One of female died on 24th March. The necropsy conducted by Dr. Joanne Justo revealed inverted keel bone (probably inborn defect) and bile stains at the lining of gizzard indicating that bird was not eating well possibly due to stress from new environment. The female was replaced by another one on 9th June 9 transferred from NFEFI-BCC together with two Luzon-bleeding heard pigeons. On 22nd May one pair laid a single egg however the parents stopped incubating and abandoned the nest two days later.
 
Luzon bleeding-heard Pigeon (Gallicolumba luzonica)
One pair and two unsexed individuals currently kept in the centre for the purpose of fostering far more threatened Negros-bleeding heard Pigeons if the need arise.
 
Pink-bellied Imperial Pigeon (Ducula poliocephala)
Six individuals rescued in September 2008 from RORO bus are being kept in the Centre yet without successful reproduction although occasional breeding activity of two pairs was observed.
 
Other Columbiformes kept in the Centre for education and training purposes (since some of the taxa are closely related and virtually unknown [as far as breeding biology is concerned] highly threatened Philippine endemic taxa on which TFI intend to focus in the future) includes: Ducula bicolor (2.2.8); Treron vernans (5.2); Phapitreron leucotis nigrorum (1.1); Ptilinopus occipitalis occipitalis (0.1); Ptilinopus leclancheri leclancheri (1.1); Caloenas nicobarica nicobarica (3.3.8); Chalcophaps indica (3.3); Macropygiat enuirostris tenuirostris (3.4.6); Columba vitiensis griseogularis (2.2).
 
Philippine Eagle Owl (Bubo philippensis) CP
TFI got officially involved in Philippine Eagle Owl  Conservation Programme when the first captive born pair was transferred on 8th October 2012 from NFEFI-BCC to TFI. The second pair was transferred to the Centre in July 2013. This pair is composed of the first ever captive-bred Philippine eagle-owl ‘Bubo’ (born November 2005) and wild-born male ‘Maginoo’ which was transferred to NFEFI-BCC from Avilon Zoo in 2002 together with 5 other individuals at the beginning of this breeding programme. Breeding activity such as copulation, visiting of the nest and increased vocalisation were observed in this pair last breeding season.
 
(Negros) Hawk Owl (Ninox philippensis centralis)
There are currently 2 male individuals in the Centre. One donated in May 2010 by private owner who has kept it as a pet while two juveniles were rescued by Punta Ballo Satellite Rescue & Breeding Centre from the nearby village kids who took them from the nest in May 2011. These two juveniles were later transferred to TFI. In 2013, one individual was transferred to NFEFI-BCC for education purposes.
 
Negros Scops Owl (Ottus “melalotis“nigrorum)
One individual of this distinct and little known taxa of unknown gender was donated to the Centre in May 2013.
 
Eastern Grass-Owl (Tyto longimembris amauronota)
One individual was donated to the Centre by Mr. Gerry Ledesma on May 2013. It was DNA sexed male and it was later transferred to Punta Ballo Talarak Satellite Rescue & Breeding Centre to join the two females previously donated there by DENR-Sipalay City.
 
Philippine Parrots CP
Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia)
The total current population of Philippine Cockatoo is 8 (2.6); 4 (1.3) of which are housed at TFI while additional 4 (1.3) individuals are kept in Punta Ballo. On 9th June, two ♀♀ were donated to Punta Ballo by private owner who used to keep them as pets.
For the first time this year, copulations were observed between the most mature female and the single male in TFI. The birds also showed interest on the nestbox provided but there was no egg laid yet.
 
Blue-naped Parrot (Tanygnethus lucionensis salvadorii)
The current population is 21 (7.10.4.) with (3.5) being rescued in Punta Ballo Talarak Satelite Rescue & Breeding Centre where in March 2012 first ever successful captive breeding occurred with the two (out of three) surviving female progeny. In 2013 one female progeny was born in Punta Ballo Talarak Satelite Rescue & Breeding Centre. In 2013 breeding season two eggs were collected on 25th April under the dead female which was later diagnosed heavily infested with round worms. From the two eggs one was infertile and the second one hatched. Two chicks were hatched under the parents in Punta Ballo Talarak Satelite Rescue & Breeding Centre on 4th April.
 
Blue-backed Parrot (Tanyghnatus sumatranus everetti)
This species appear to be one of the most threatened psittacine taxa in the country (Timothy Fisher personal communication) although still being labelled as “Least Concern” by IUCN Red List Database seems to have almost disappeared from the Philippines with one taxa (ssp. freeri endemic to tiny island of Polillo) almost certainly extinct and the taxa currently hold in TFI (ssp. everreti) being most likely extinct from West Visayas Faunal Region. Two females are currently kept in TFI with the prospect of obtaining two males from Avilon Foundation (Avilon Zoo) an institution with which TFI currently developing official partnership cooperation.
 
Eastern Apo Lorikeet (Trichoglossus johnstoniae johnstoniae)
(0.2) of this Near Threatened endemic taxa of Sought and Central Mindanao are kept in the centre donated by private owner who had kept this species as pet. Mindanao Hanging-Parrot (Loricullus philippensis apicalis). Three pairs and two captive born juveniles of this species with large number of taxa of which some already obtained a full species status are kept in the Centre. On 19th April 2013 one of the females laid her first clutch of two eggs which later turn to be infertile. However, the same female together with the second female laid second clutch in May. Both eggs from the second clutch were fertile and two chicks hatched and were successfully reared by the parents. The clutch of two eggs of the second female was infertile.
 
Leyte Hanging-Parrot (Loricullus philippensis worcesteri)
Six juveniles were donated to the centre from private collector on 24th September 2013.
 
Negros Hanging-Parrot (Loricullus philippensis regulus)
This is probably one of the most threatened subspecies of Philippine Hanging –Parrot complex. One proven pair and one captive born female were donated to the Centre.
 
Other species kept in the Centre
Palawan Peacock Pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis)
Two pairs and two captive born individuals of only threatened species of galliforms endemic to Palawan Faunal Region are being currently held in the Centre. Two chicks were hatched on 12th March 2014 and parent reared.
 
White-bellied Woodpecker (Dryocopus javensis philippensis)
This species being kept mainly for training purposes since several taxa of highly threatened (or even extinct) piciforms has been recently recognized in the country (The species limit in the Philippines, Nigel Colar 2011). The lone male individual kept at TFI was donated to NFEFI-BCC on 11th June 2014.
 
Palawan Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa palawanensis)
This taxa being recognized as Vulnerable by Philippine Species Red Data Book (Colar & Mallari 2001) is under very high pressure of poaching due to high demand for the illegal pet trade in the country. Four pairs and one captive born individual are currently kept in TFI. Additional three pairs, two males and two unsexed individuals are being kept in Punta Ballo Talarak Satelite Rescue & Breeding Centre. In 2014 breeding season 3 chicks were hatched on 23rd March and another single chick from two-egg clutch was hatched on 1st May. On 30th June two eggs were observed when the nestbox was checked.
 
Coleto (Sarcops calvus)
One breeding pair with seven progenies is currently kept in the centre. Two chicks hatched on 30th March, another 3 on 12th May and the last 3 chicks hatched were still on the nest on 30th June. Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis cyanocollis). Two pairs of this only representative of family Coracidae in the Philippines are kept in the Centre for the educational and training purposes.
 
Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica)
Two pairs of this only Philippine endemic duck species are currently kept. Interestingly the species bred only once in the last five years. It was after 2010 El niňo effect. The same year the single pair in NFEFI-BCC also showed breeding activity.
 
Conservation activities 
24th June 2014, participation on the Conference on Wildlife Conservation and Protection in Western Visayas – Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 
 
 
Acknowledgments
The TFI staff would like to extend their deepest gratitude to everyone who has lent, and who continues to lend support to Talarak Foundation as well as to any other agency which continues to support the Philippine Biodiversity Programme. To these ends, TFI is especially grateful to (in alphabetical order): Faunus o.s. (Czech Republic); Feather Park Inc. (Philippines); ICE’N’GO’ (Czech Republic); Landau Zoo & Friends of Landau Zoo (Germany); Liberec Zoo (Czech Republic); Mari-it Wildlife Conservation Park (WVSU-CAF, Lambunao, Panay); NFEFI – BCC (Filipíny); Krokodyli Zoo Protivin; Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. (PBCFI, Philippines); Pilsen Zoo (Czech Republic); Prague Zoo (Czech Republic); Punta Ballo Parrot Farm (Philippines); Stiftung Artenshutz (Germany); Vogelpark Avifauna (Netherlands); West Visayas State University (Philippines); World Owl Trust (UK); World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Switzerland) and Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (Germany).
 
We are also especially grateful to: Birgit Benzing, Juan Andres Corro, Todd Dalton, James Dinsay, Errol Gatumbato, Julian Coco Garcia, Juan Javier Garcia, Rikardo Garcia, Joaquin Gaw, Dr. Angela Glatston, Dino Gutierrez, Jan Hanel, Robert Harland, Dr. Jens-Ove Heckel, Joanne Justo, Joost Lammers, Prof. Lucia Lastimoza, Gerry Ledesma, Lance Patric Ledesma, Lucia D. Salazar, Dr. Jean-Marc Lernould, Dr. Theresa Mundita Lim, Paul Lizares, Lourdes Theresa Luzuriaga, MVDr. David Nejedlo, William Oliver, Andrew Owen, Tomas Pes, Jirina Pesova, Jiri Prochazka, Miroslav Prochazka, Nigel Simpson, Anthony Ramos, Augusto D. Sison, Cristina Schubert, Mgr. Dana Sobotkova; Christian Rainward, Jiri Travnicek, Edgardo Uychiat, Antonin Vaidl, Rinus Verkade, Anthony Warburton, Dr. Roger Wilkinson and Roland Wirth.
 
Philippine government institutions including the Bureau of Animal Industry, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, Department of Education, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, Provincial Environment Management Office and the Provincial Veterinary Office.
 
Report compiled By:
Pavel Hospodarsky and Zuzana Panovska
In-situ Projects Coordinator Liberec ZOO
Talarak Foundation Inc.
52 Coloso Street, Kabankalan City
6111 Negros Occidental,
Philippines