MANGATAREM, Pangasinan—It looks like an owl but its beak is as wide as a frog’s mouth. It is a bird that is often heard, and rarely seen, because of its loud sound “Kaawww” or its staccato “Wak wak wak.”
That’s the “saksakulap,” the very elusive Philippine frogmouth (Batrachostomus septimus), which has become the poster creature of government programs to protect the critical Mangatarem forest, the largest forest in Pangasinan with an area of 6,500 hectares.
It is a part of the 139,679-ha Zambales mountain range, which straddles Pangasinan, Tarlac and Zambales.
The Mangatarem forest is now in the five-year New Conservation Areas in the Philippines Project (NewCAPP) of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB).
NewCAPP is being implemented with the local government and Haribon Foundation and with funds from the United Nations Development Program-Global Environment Facility.
Protecting the Pangasinan-Zambales rainforest would mean protecting the saksakulap, said Leduina Co, provincial environment and natural resources officer.