island conservation preventing extinctions philippines dinagat cloud rat

Native Dinagat Island Cloud Rat Rediscovered

Native Cloud Rat rediscovered in the dense rainforests of Dinagat Island and protecting the island could save the rare species.

Dinagat Island, located Northwest of Philippines, is known for its dense and beautiful rainforests that are home to a variety of endemic species. One of these species, the Dinagat Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat (Crateromys australis), was discovered in 1974 but was assumed extinct for decades. The entire species was described from a single animal but was presumed extinct after researchers were unable to find any more individuals.

island conservation dingat island cloud rat

Dinagat Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat native to Dinagat Island. Credit: Milada Řeháková

In 2012, the species was rediscovered by researchers Milada Řeháková and Václav Řehák. For the first time in almost 40 years Dinagat Island had renewed hope for the species. With new hope came increased efforts to protect this Critically Endangered native rat.

Last December a team of researchers set out to map the island and search for areas the species was likely to inhabit in order to best inform conservation measures. Řeháková commented:

I am very happy that our Philippine partners came up with the idea of establishing protected areas on Dinagat Island and that I can be part of it.

The expedition also captured footage of the Endangered Dinagat Moonrat (Podogymnura aureospinula), which had never before been photographed in the wild. The Dinagat Moonrat is found on three islands within the Philippines where deforestation has reduced habitat availability. Protecting Dinagat Island is crucial to prevent the permanent loss of the wildlife that live there and nowhere else in the world.

Featured photo: Siargao Island, which may be home ot the Dinagat Bushy-tailed Cloud Rat. Credit: Richard Parker
Source: Rainforest Trust

About Emily Heber

Emily is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology. As a student, she discovered that she had a passion for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems. Her background in informal education has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion for animals with others, something she seeks to continue doing while working with the communication team. In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring the amazing hiking trails found in Santa Cruz and tries to SCUBA dive whenever possible. Emily is excited to join the Island Conservation team and to help share the amazing work that is being done here.

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