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Czechs help boost wildlife protection in Philippines

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Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia/Dasmarinas, Philippines, Feb 13 (CTK) – Czech researchers have mapped rare rodents in the Philippines and thereby helped launch activities in the local wildlife protection, zoologist Milada Rehakova, from the zoo in Usti nad Labem, has told CTK.

Five years ago, Czechs “re-discovered” the Dinagat cloud rat or crateromys (Crateromys australis), which was considered extinct, on Dinagat Island in the Philippines. They returned to the country recently and they filmed this species again.

Besides, they for the first time photographed and video-recorded another rare species, the Dinagat gymnure (Podogymnura aureospinula), said Rehakova, who initiated the Tarsius project focused on the protection of the wildlife in the Philippines, said.

The 30-70 centimetre long Dinagat cloud rats is a night rodent living on trees in the Philippines only. Its typical feature is a long bushy black-and-white tail.

Before the Czech experts mapped it, the cloud rat was caught only once, in 1975. Afterwards, many scientific expeditions were searching for it, but only Czechs succeeded in this effort in 2012.

Tree felling and minerals mining pose a serious threat to the wildlife in the Philippines, Rehakova said.

“This is why it is a great success that the re-discovery (of the Dinagat cloud rat) helped stimulate the wildlife protection activities and launch a project of mapping thousands of hectares on Dinagat Island and declaring them protected landscape areas,” Rehakova said.

The Czech-Philippine expedition took place in November and December 2016.

Apart from further documenting the Dinagat cloud rat, the researchers detected the rare Dinagat gymnure thanks to a phototrap.

“It is related to our hedgehogs. This has been the very first recording of a live Dinagat gymnure individual in the wild,” Rehakova said.

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