World Wildlife Day poster by the PCSD.

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) recently launched its latest projects created with the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), on World Wildlife Day, March 3.

Two completed projects – the Zooverse augmented reality Instagram filter, and the Biodiversity Resource Action Information Network (BRAIN) – were created due to the COVID-19 restrictions, while the Palawan Biodiversity Resource Center (PBRC) in Barangay Irawan will be open to visitors once health protocols are relaxed.

PCSDS launched the three projects in a virtual program Wednesday to celebrate World Wildlife Day and to also wrap up its partnership with the USAID’s Project Wildlife.

The PBRC, a project that began construction in 2018, was featured in a video demonstration that featured the center as a facility that houses rescued and injured wildlife. It also displays specimens, such as taxidermized animals, that will be available to the public, especially researchers.

“Itong proyekto ito ay makakatulong sa tamang pangangasiwa at pangagalaga sa ating wildlife and in general ang biodiversity ng buong Palawan, lalong-lalo na ‘yong mga wildlife na dino-donate, confiscated, naa-apprehend ng mga authorities. Kulang ang ating existing facilities, ‘yong Palawan Wildlife Rescue Center na kulang na rin ng pondo noon para i-house ang mga wildlife. So itong Center ay magiging malawak and will also include mga biological resources sa Palawan,” said Department of Environment and Natural Resources Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (DENR-PENRO) Eriberto Saños in his opening remarks.

The Zooverse Instagram filter uses augmented reality technology that will make ten endemic Palawan wildlife appear in a frame on Instagram Stories. The filter hopes to raise awareness on the local endemic wildlife and their importance in everyday life.

Another innovation, the PCSD BRAIN system, which has been operational since May 2020, was developed so the Council could offer contactless services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The system serves multiple uses, such as applying and filing for environmental permits, and for the PCSD’s enforcement groups to detect and report environmental violations using maps and other digital tools. It also has a “Sumbong” feature, which allows concerned citizens to report wildlife in danger.

“The system makes it easy for proponents to process their applications and allows them to monitor these transactions. It streamlines the permitting process and makes the service more accessible to the people. As of now, the online system covers transactions for nine permits of the PCSD Staff (PCSDS),” said PCSDS executive director Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta during the program.

The Protect Wildlife program is a multi-sectoral partnership whose objective was to assist local government entities, such as the PCSDS and the DENR, in wildlife and environment conservation. According to a PCSDS presser released Thursday, the program has trained 500 individuals to adapt improved environment practices and has reportedly benefitted 3,000 families through sustainable nature-based livelihoods.