Translating Science into Conservation Action in the Philippines

The Zoo supports international conservation efforts by applying our resources and staff expertise to support evidence-based planning for important species of high conservation value around the world. Zoo staff often have unique knowledge which allows them to play key roles as members of IUCN SSC specialist groups and in species conservation planning. The One-Plan approach to conservation developed by the IUCN supports an integrated strategy for species conservation planning with a single plan to bridge the gap between wild and captive population management. 

The Philippines is a biodiversity hotspot for hornbills, home to 10 endemic species, which the IUCN SSC Hornbill Specialist Group identified as a critical region due to four high priority hornbill species in need of conservation planning. In 2019, two species conservation planning workshops were organized for Philippine hornbill species, with many international and national stakeholders representing Philippine government agencies, landowners, conservation groups, universities, tourism, agriculture and local communities. The first, held in March 2019, emphasized the Critically Endangered Sulu hornbill, while the second, in June 2019, focused more broadly on five high priority endemic species from the West Visayas region, including the Critically Endangered Rufous-headed hornbill and the Endangered Visayan hornbill. The Zoo’s Director of Animal Management & Welfare, Roger Sweeney, contributed to both workshops as a member of the IUCN SSC Hornbill Specialist Group and led the specific ex situ working group for the Sulu hornbill workshop.