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North Palawan Tree Squirrel

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 11 months ago
Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel

 


Description and Rationale

 

The Northern Palwan Tree Squirrel is found only in Central and northern Palawan only. It’s habitat is primary and secondary lowland forest. The squirrel is endangered because of deforestation. These squirrels are endemic to the Philippines. Most people consider them a nuisance and may not want them to return.

 

 

These are some of the questions I hope to answer:

What is the population of the squirrels? How are they increasing/decreasing each year? What to do they eat and is that affecting the life they live? How does their presence affect the lives of the people surrounding them? Are they just pests or do they actually help the environment? How much of the forest is being cut down each year that actually affects the squirrels? If the squirrels go extinct, is it enough to affect the whole Philippines economy and even the places where trees still exist?

Are there ways the squirrels could be used such as getting rid of unwanted plants and weeds? All around the world squirrels seem to be a problem. They get into gardens and bird feeders and eat what they aren’t supposed to. What if the squirrels were used for ecotourism considering they are only found in the Philippines? This could possibly increase the economy of the Philippines and help the Filipinos preserve the forest.

The purpose of this project is to research the biology of the Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel through searching the web and talking with people who have seen them or have dealt with them. This will supply further information and will help tell if the squirrel should actually be reintroduced to Palawan.

It is hoped that the endangered Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel will be helped and will further help the economy of the Philippines.

 

 

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Biology

 

Common Names and Synonyms

Sundasciurus juvencus is also called the Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel. It is called this, because it lives in the trees of northern and central Palawan. Squirrels are also called scurry or dray.

 

Classification

Kingdom: Animalia - Animal

Phylum: Chordata - Chordadieren

Class: Mammalia - Mammal

Order: Rodentia - Rodents

Family: Sciuridae - Squirrel

Genus: Sundasciurus - Tree Squirrel

Species: S. juvencus - Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel

 

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Morphology and Physical Description

 

 

Getting Food

Northern Palawan Tree Squirrels are omnivores. Even though they live in trees, the go down to the ground for food. They mostly eat nuts, bark, berries, flowers, baby birds and eggs. Some even consider tree sap a delicacy. Yet insects, smaller mammals, frogs and carrion often replace nuts because the squirrels live in a tropical climate. They store there food in the hollows of trees and eat when hungry.

 

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Reproduction

Squirrels mate sexually. The female usually gives birth from two to eight offspring and have several litters in a year. This is why it is unusual for a squirrel to be endangered, because they reproduce so much. For two or three months, baby squirrels are blind. They are totally dependent on their mothers for food and other such things. The squirrels create nests in hallow trees, or create small cup-shaped nests in trees.

 

Environmental Factors

The Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel lives in lowland forests of northern and central Palawan. Yet even though they live in the forest, they can be a nuisance to the people living around them. They eat vegetables that were human planted, and also chew on inedible things, such as wood or plastics.

 

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Origin and Distribution

They live primarily in the Palawan Faunal region. They are located in the primary and secondary lowland forest of the northern and central parts of Palawan. The region is tropical, with a hot humid climate.

 

Importance to People

Really, squirrels don’t have much importance to people. The Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel does not either. Usually squirrels are mischievous and cause trouble by eating important crops and chewing up inedible items. Yet they could be used for ecotourism. This type of squirrel is only found in the Philippines so if they were put in preserves, then tourists would most likely come to see them. They are loved even though they are a nuisance. People put them in stories and cartoons such as Rocky from the show Rocky and Bullwinkle, and different works from Beatrix Potter. Their cute, fluffy features attract any passerby. This is why they would be good for tourism. It could help bring up the Philippine economy.

Another reason they would be good for ecotourism, is that they aren’t known to carry diseases like ground squirrels. This is mainly because they mostly stay up in trees and come in little contact with bacteria from below.

 

Survivability and Endangered Status

The Sundasciurus juvencus is on the endangered charts list, but some scientists say that it should be taken off. They say that there are plenty of them but others in fact say that they should stay on the endangered species list. It is strange for a squirrel to be on the lists, because they breed so fast.

 

 

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Potential Solutions

You have heard of the problem, and now is the time to solve it. The possibilitiess (below) will tell how the problem of the endangered squirrels could be solved.

 

Possibility 1 ECOTOURISM

The Philippines is starting to become a popular tourist spot. There are lots of things to do and see, such as the caves in Palawan or seeing the Tarsier in Bohol. The Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel could help widen the variety of activities to be done. In Palawan, one of the main spots to see is the cave. Another thing to do is go scuba diving, or snorkeling. If their was a reserve for these squirrels, then that could be another thing to add to the list of activities. It is interesting for both the young and old.

 

Advantages

1. The economy of the Philippines could possibly go up, considering both adults and children enjoy watching furry fluff balls run around and hop from tree to tree. More people would come to watch, so the more money would go into preserving these animals, and others. It would also help pay for the country’s necessities.

2. It would give people jobs. There would be workers needed to help run the park, such as travel guides. Some of the Filipinos have grown up around these animals and they may know a bit about their habitat and the way they live, so if these people would be taught a little more, they could have jobs running the park.

 

Disadvantages

1. There really is no disadvantage but that when there are more people, there is more trash. If trash articles were accidentally or intentionally dropped, the animals could eat it, or get it caught around them and die. An example of this would be the plastic tops of the pop cans that are used to keep them in packs of eight could get caught around their neck and eventually choke them to death.

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Possibility 2 USE SQUIRRELS TO RID BOTHERSOME INSECTS

Squirrels are usually stereotyped as eating nuts, but these animals also eat insects. In the province of Palawan and any tropical area, insects are usually bothersome creatures. If these squirrels were kept wild, and living around a village at the same time, they could rid the area of the pests that eat up crops or tear apart bamboo, or nipa huts.

 

Advantages

1. The N. Palawan Tree Squirrel could help keep the bothersome insects, such as termites, from eating the houses made from nipa palm, or bamboo. Families would not have to repair their houses as often as usual when there are lots of insects. I talked to my ate and she said that termites especially are a major problem. If people knew this, then the squirrel could helped be saved by having them in villages and such. There would still be plenty of trees around near small farms unlike in the deep jungle where they are being cut down each year.

 

Disadvantage

1. The squirrels love to eat crops, or plants in gardens. This could be a problem for people whos' incomes are through planting food.

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Possibility 3 EDUCATION

Children love animals, that is why it is important to teach them while they are young on how to keep endangered animals protected. If we were to teach them how to help protect the environment so no animal would be endangered, they could provide a better future. The future of our universe is in the hands of this next generation. If the children of the Philippines were to learn about the squirrel, and all of the other endangered species then we may be looking at a brighter future.

 

ACTION STEP

A way to start this would be a simple pamphlet or small booklet that teaches the children a little bit about the squirrel. That is what the little brochure that I made is used for. If you could make people aware of how this animal could better the economy, and give people jobs, maybe they or the government would actually take notice.

I took this pamphlet to different people on the streets, but they did not seem interested or even know what the animal was. Another action step I took was emailing different people and asking them for advice and their opinions. Only one responded.

 

Advantages

1. When you teach children about a problem while they are younger, some may want to change it in the future. Throughout their life they will understand it more and more. When they are young, that is when they establish their likes and dislikes, and often what they want to be when they are “all grown up.” If we teach them about these problems, it may get them interested.

2. Children aren’t the only ones who can be educated though. Adults can still help change our future. If they learn about the problems, then they teach their children. If we were to teach the citizens of the Philippines about deforestation and how much it is harming these squirrels and other animals, then maybe they will reconsider burning every little piece of land, or cutting down every single tree. It is okay to cut them down but not excessively and they need to be replaced each time.

 

Disadvantage

1. Sometimes, when you grow up learning about a problem, you tend to get used to it and live around it. If we did teach the children of Palawan about the squirrel, then there is always the possibility of some of them, from hearing it so much, learn to adapt to the problem. They don’t change anything, but just ignore the situation. It is kind of like when you watch violent movies a lot, you start to get used to seeing the blood and gore. When the time comes that you should be sickened at the site, you have no feelings for it. It’s as if it has always been apart of your life.

 

 

Biblical Interpretation

All throughout the Bible it talks about how we are supposed to take care of the earth and it’s inhabitants. God put Adam and Even in charge of all living creatures, great and small, and now this duty passes to us that is why it’s important to protect the N. Palawan Tree Squirrel. God looked at the world after he made it, and saw that it was good. Even if the squirrel is a pest, God made it for a purpose so we need to protect it.

 

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Bibliography

Belardo, Pia. "Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel." Nothern Palawan Tree Squirrel. 3 Apr. 1996. EESP. 15 May 2007 <http://hayop.0catch.com/np3squir.htm>.

 

Esselstyn, Jacob. "RE: Questions About the Northern Palawan Tree Squirrel." E-mail to Caitlyn Dailey. 28 Apr. 2007.

 

"Nothern Palawan Tree Squirrel." The Website of Everything. 2005. TheWebSiteOfEverything.Com. 15 May 2007 <http://www.thewebsiteofeverything.com/animals/mammals/Rodentia/Sciuridae/Sundasciurus/Sundasciurus-juvencus.html>.

 

"Sundasciurus Juvencus." The Synopsis of the Mammalian Fauna of the Philippine Islands. 2005. The Field Museum. 15 May 2007 <http://www.fieldmuseum.org/philippine_mammals/Sundasciurus_juvencus.htm>.

                    "Sundasciurus Juvencus." Wikipedia.Org. 6 Nov. 2006. Wikimedia. 15 May 2007

                     <http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundasciurus_juvencus>.

 

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