Rediscovered butterfly species bolsters national park proposal

A butterly with black and white stripes sitting on a green leaf

Striped Ringlet; Photo: Berthold Schirm

The ‘Striped Ringlets’ butterfly is found exclusively in the eastern island province of Catanduanes in the Philippines and was first discovered by a biologist in 1982. However, it was not listed in the ‘Revised checklist of the butterflies of the Philippine Islands’ in 2012 as scientists had ceased to record it. Thanks to a team from Catanduanes Sustainable Ecosystems Development, Inc. (EcoDev), headed by biologist Dr Estrella S. Placides and field research team leader Ms Shiela B. Conche, the Striped Ringlets butterfly has now found its way back onto the official list.

EcoDev is a non-governmental organisation based in Catanduanes that cooperates with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and provincial and local government units to implement conservation activities for the Catanduanes Watershed Forest Reserve (CWFR), which is a protected area. In 2016, the team confirmed sightings of the Striped Ringlets and at least eight other species near the village of P. Vera (Summit).

EcoDev has a biodiversity monitoring system in the area around P. Vera (Summit). The NGO has used the results of the biodiversity assessment to support the Protected Area Management Board in updating the protected area management plan and raising awareness in schools. This special butterfly species found in Catanduanes is their mascot for posters and slogan contests.

Two smiling women infront of a project poster, one wearing big colourful butterfly wings

Last year, DENR together with provincial and local government units, EcoDev and the congressman of the Lone Legislative District of Catanduanes drafted a national bill for consideration at the Philippine Congress that would give the watershed forest reserve the status of a national park. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is supporting the conservation of the watershed forest reserve in cooperation with DENR and EcoDev as part of the PAME project (Protected Area Management Enhancement).

The project is funded through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Environment Ministry (BMUB). Its goal is to improve the management of individual protected areas, such as the forest reserve, and to support more than 60 other protected areas throughout the Philippines.