Project Palaka is the first ex-situ amphibian conservation program in the Philippines.
It began as a US Fulbright project, in partnership with the University of the Philippines, Los Banos, and in consultation with Avilon Zoo and researchers at the National Museum of Natural History. The organisation consists of a group of Filipino and US researchers, ecologists, and herpetologists dedicated to focusing on utilising captive breeding efforts to help protect endemic and native Philippine amphibians.
The Philippines are a biodiversity hotspot, and approximately 70-80 per cent of the amphibians found there are endemic (unique to the region). Amphibians are the most threatened group of vertebrates, with 41 per cent of all species worldwide being threatened by the synergistic effects of climate change, chytridiomycosis, and habitat loss. Protecting endangered amphibians requires a multifaceted approach. One conservation method that has been underutilised for Philippine amphibians is captive breeding and reintroductions. Project Palaka seeks fill this niche, while working with other conservation partners throughout the Philippines, Asia, and the USA to develop collaborative efforts to conserve and protect the unique biodiversity of the Philippine islands.
Project Palaka’s primary goal is to establish captive breeding programmes for threatened and endangered Philippine amphibians. It is also developing an educational outreach programme to bring nature into the classroom, via presentations and lectures for elementary, middle, and high school students in the Laguna province.