DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 January) – A Philippine Sailfin Lizard was found dead along the riverbank of Panigan-Tamugan watershed in Davao City’s Baguio District, the local environment group Interface Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) said.
Considered endemic to the Philippines and vulnerable to extinction, the lizard died from a gunshot wound.
In an interview, IDIS executive director Mark Peñalver said the dead creature, known to locals as “ibid,” was found during a routine river cleanup and brand audit conducted by the group with members of Bantay Bukid last Wednesday along the riverbank of the watershed, considered Davao’s next water source.
He added the team also spotted another “ibid” lurking near where the dead one was discovered.
Peñalver called on the local government to strengthen efforts to protect these creatures to live up to the city’s campaign slogan that “Life is here in Davao,” adding that “life” must include the “life of our natural resources including those within it.”
“As what we always say in IDIS, a clean water means a healthy watershed. Let’s continue to protect and conserve our watersheds for us to have more sources of clean water,” he added.
The “ibid” has been listed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as “vulnerable species” due to habitat loss through land conversion, logging operations, human intrusion and monocrop plantations.
The lizards are also being hunted for food and are heavily collected as pets, Peñalver added.
He said there were also sightings of Philippine Long-tailed Macaque, considered by IUCN as “near threatened” species in the same watershed.
He said the presence of these species are an important indicator of a healthy and balanced watershed and of high endemism in the area. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)