Conservation group to reintroduce both species in the wild in Central Cebu
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is helping efforts to reintroduce the Visayan spotted deer and Visayan warty pig in Cebu next year.
The Visayan or Prince Alfred’s spotted deer (Rusa alfredi) and the Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons) are already extinct in Cebu island , but still exist in some parts of the Visayas.
Conservation programs for each species initiated by the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PBCFI) have established captive breeding facilities with the help of foreign donors.
The next step is to reintroduce both species into the wild.
Ranier Manlegro, zoology technician at the DENR regional office, said both species will be seen within the Central Cebu Protected Landscape again after more than six decades of extinction.
“This is part of our efforts to conserve wildlife in the Philippines,” he said.
Manlegro said the private conservation group plans to bring some deer and pigs from its captive breeding center in Silliman University in Dumaguete City back to Cebu.
Manlegro said the DENR is studying how to ensure the effort succeeds.
“We will have to reintroduce the animals carefully and gradually. It will take at least five years and a long process for the animals to be reintroduced to the wild because they are bred in captivity,” he said.
Manlegro said having these species in their original habitat will promote biodiversity in the area.
“The success of this plan will give way to further plans to reintroduce the animals back to other parts in the Visayas where they once thrived,” he said.
The Visayan spotted deer used to roam in dense grasslands and forests of Negros, Cebu, Guimaras, Panay, Masbate, Leyte, and Samar.
The species was thought to have become extinct in the 1930s until a biodiversity survey in 1985 and 1987 found a few of them still roaming in the dense forests of Panay and Negros.
Manlegro said the spotted deer is easily distinguished from other deer because its beige spots have a distinctive “A” pattern.
It also has deep brown back and sides.
The Visayan warty pig is similar to other wild pigs, but has small facial warts and a tuft of hair on its crown, Manlegro said.
On its website, the foundation said they have successfully bred the two species in captivity.
The rReintroduction of both the Visayan spotted deer and Visayan warty pig is being piloted in Sicogon Island. They will also be reintroduced in Cebu and Negros.