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About us


Members of the current Katala Foundation successfully implemented the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program (PCCP) since 1998 on Rasa Island, Narra, Palawan. The frame condition of this endeavour was a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (DENR-PAWB, now Biodiversity Management Bureau) and the Katala Foundation, PCCP is implemented in four sites in Palawan namely in the municipalities of Dumaran, Narra, Rizal and Balabac, as well as within Puerto Princesa.

Since then, the people involved in the project broadened their scope of activities and institutionalized their efforts through the involvement of former Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, who visited the Rasa project in the course of film-shooting for the TV documentary “Team Explorer” at Studio 23.

All Photos © Katala Foundation Inc

Katala Foundation Incorporated (KFI) was then duly registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 19, 2002 under SEC No. CN200253626.

The name Katala is derived from its local name of the Philippine cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia. The Philippine cockatoo is endemic to the Philippines. It belongs to one of the rarest and most threatened bird species globally; thus, classified critically endangered by the World Conservation Union or the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Main threats of its survival are poaching for pet trade, habitat destruction and direct persecution.

Katala Foundation, Inc., a non-profit, non-stock, non-governmental organization, has been active in protecting and conserving wildlife, particularly the Philippine cockatoo and other threatened endemic wildlife in Palawan.

Katala Foundation’s niche developed over years of researches, advocacy and development works in order to protect and conserve the biological diversity along with people. Its vision is to effect conservation of biological resources through active community involvement - conserving with people. To attain this vision, Katala Foundation employs participatory and ecosystemic approaches to all its programs and activities.

Vision and Mission

KFI’s vision is to effect conservation of biological resources through active community involvement – conserving with people!

Strategies and Approaches

To attain this vision, Katala Foundation employs participatory and ecosystem approaches to all its programs and activities.

In particular, strategies are aimed to:

- Capacitate and empower local partners and communities as effective conservation managers;

- Increase level of knowledge on biodiversity conservation through intensive conservation education activities and thereby influencing positive attitudes and behaviours towards the environment;

- Conduct scientific researches along with local partners applying international standards and methodologies to fill up research gaps and recommend the most appropriate action for decision makers to lead;

- Develop proactive leadership among local partners; and

- Strengthen the organization through staff development.

On-Going Programs and Projects Implemented

Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program (PCCP), since 1998: Species conservation program aimed to conserve the critically endangered Philippine cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia from extinction through, e.g. nest protection, identification, protection and management of key conservation sites,  habitat restoration, conservation education, community involvement, rescue of individual birds, translocation, conservation breeding for later re-introduction, etc. Its implementation is under the framework of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the DENR-BMB and the KFI.

Key sponsors and partners: DENR-BMB, PCSD, Loro Parque Fundacion (LPF), Chester Zoo, Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (ZGAP, incl. Fonds fuer Bedrohte Papageien and Strunden-Papageien-Stiftung), ZooParc de Beauval and Conservation Association (Association Beauval Conservation et Recherche), Municipalities of Narra, Dumaran, and Balabac, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm within Puerto Princesa.

Philippine Freshwater Turtle Conservation Project (PFTCP), since 2007: A MOA between KFI and PAWB-DENR on the Philippine Freshwater Turtle Conservation Program was signed in November 2006. This joint undertaking aims to conserve Philippine freshwater turtle populations and habitats, to conduct scientific research on biology and management of these turtles and its habitats and to educate and capacitate stakeholders for its conservation. Through the KIEBC at Narra, these objectives are hoped to be met. This MOA provides the legal basis to obtain confiscated turtles from recognized rescue centers and/or to accommodate otherwise rescued turtles to the center. Current activities give special attention to the Palawan-endemic critically endangered Palawan Forest Turtle Siebenrockiella leytensis (Pagong or Bakoko).

Key sponsors and partners (alphabetical):

Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Turtle Conservancy, Conservation International, Chelonian Research Association, European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Shellshock Campaign, Herpetological Society of Germany (DGHT), Idea Wild, IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Garden, North of England Zoological Society Chester Zoo, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong, Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF), Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), US Fish and Wildlife Service – Wildlife without Borders, Wildlife Reserves Singapore Group, Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (ZGAP), DENR and PCSDS.

Katala Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation (KIEBC) (since 2006): The overall goal of KIEBC is conserving Palawan’s biodiversity through establishment of an education, conservation and research institution in close vicinity to threatened target species and ecosystems. Its specific objectives are: 1) To serve as a venue for conservation education with local population, youth, national and international visitors as main target groups. 2) To develop protocols for rescue, conservation breeding, habitat restoration, and eventually reintroduction of selected highly threatened wild species of Palawan, like Philippine cockatoo or Philippine freshwater turtle. 3) To create an institution for research on applied ecology and biodiversity conservation, with focus on threatened species management, priority area conservation, and restoration.

Key sponsors and partners: Loro Parque Fundacion (LPF), Chester Zoo, Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (ZGAP, incl. Fonds Fuer Bedrohte Papageien and Strunden-Papageien-Stiftung), ZooParc de Beauval and Conservation Association (Association Beauval Conservation et Recherche), Municipality of Narra, European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Shellshock Campaign and the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF), Herpetological Society of Germany (DGHT), Wildlife Reserves Singapore Group, DENR, PCSDS.

Palawan Pangolin Research (since 2008): KFI is conducting research on the Palawan pangolin Manis culionensis. An initial study on the trade of the species in Southern Palawan was conducted in collaboration with TRAFFIC Southeast Asia. Results were presented during an international workshop on trade and conservation of pangolins native to South and Southeast Asia sponsored by Wildlife Reserves Singapore. This was the starting point for two new projects: 1) the “Phylogeny and Taxonomic Status of the Palawan Pangolin” and 2) "Conservation Status of the Palawan pangolin Manis culionensis.


Key sponsors and partners: TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, University of Kansas, Laboratory of Genomic Diversity of the National Cancer Institute, Wildlife Reserves Singapore Zoo, Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund.


Forest rehabilitation and protection (since 2007): Activities focus on the protection and rehabilitation of former or existing tropical forest areas with the aim of sequestering carbon and of creating or preserving habitats of threatened wildlife species in the Philippines and hence contribute to the conservation of climate and biological diversity. KFI enters into long-term agreements with local communities in order to facilitate rehabilitation of degraded or long-term persistence of existing forests in the Philippines in mutual agreement with the donor. Project approaches include: a) Selection of suitable areas based on the potential for carbon sequestration or the actual carbon stock and the value for biodiversity conservation; b) Management of the acquired areas; c) Acquisition of mature forests – in case the forests are in danger of conversion or degradation in a short or middle term (“avoided deforestation”); d) Monitoring of acquired areas; e) Forest inventories after the intervention to assess standing crop and therefore carbon in the living biomass; d) Assessment of selected groups of plants and animals with focus on occurrence of threatened species. Efforts also include the establishment of a Critical Habitat in Dumaran Island in an area that is of global conservation concern and an importation watershed for Dumaran.


Key sponsors and partners: Zoo Landau in der Pfalz; Stadtholding Landau, Germany, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, La Ola Leisure Bath, Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation.

Who are we?

Founding Members

Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri

President. Graduated Agri-Business Management at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños; At age 39, is the youngest to be elected as Senate Majority Leader since the First Congress in 1946 and after World War II; served the 3rd District of Bukidnon for nine years since the 11th Congress in 1998.; father of the Biofuels Act of 2006; “father” of the New Cooperative Code or RA 9520 or the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008; founded the Philippine Deer Foundation and Katala Foundation; and served as a Governor of the Philippine National Red Cross and active member of the Red Cross Youth Committee and Concerned Divers of the Philippines.


Peter Widmann

Vice President. Graduated in Biology at the University Hohenheim, Germany. In the past eighteen years, worked in projects related to biodiversity conservation, mostly in tropical Asia (Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, China). Co-founder and vice-president of the Katala Foundation. Programme leader of the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Programme from 1998 to 2007. Currently working as adviser for Wildlife Management and Conservation Biology at the Tanjungpura University in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.


Indira Dayang "Yanyan" Lacerna - Widmann

Chief Operations Officer. Finished Mass Communication from the University of San Jose Recoletos, MS in Environmental Studies at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Philippines; Diploma in Conservation Education at Kent University, UK; eight years of working experience in bilateral GTZ (German-Philippine) development project; and since 1999 managing the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Programme, founding member and serving as Chief Operations Officer of the Katala Foundation since incorporation in 2002


Sabine Schoppe

Secretary / Treasurer. Graduated in Biology in 1990 and PhD in Biology in 1993 at the Justus Liebig University In Giessen. Working in wildlife conservation since 1994: Ornithological surveys in Panay& Negros, Philippines (1994), community-based coastal resource management in Leyte, Philippines (1995-1999), guest professor in aquatic and marine biology at the Western Philippines University, Palawan, Philippines (1999-2005), freshwater turtle trade consultant of Traffic Southeast Asia in Malaysia and Indonesia (2006), and since February 2007 Co-manager of the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program. Project director of the Philippine Freshwater Turtle Conservation Program. Founding member of KFI and since December 2008 serving as Secretary of the Foundation.


Deborah "Debbie" Villafuerte - van den Beukel

Trustee. Finished BS Environmental Science from the Palawan State University and acquired units in MS Extension Systems Management at the Western Philippines University; six years of working experience as Administrative and Conservation Education Officer in the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Programme (PCCP); scholar, Global Darwin Scholarship Programme hosted by the Field Studies Council in UK; contributes in making education and publicity materials, fund raising and research; continuously working as the Netherlands-based KF website developer; acquired certificates on Web Design and Publication courses; a member of International Webmasters Association; KFI's founding member and served as Secretary from 2001 to 2008.


Siegfred "Fred" H. Diaz

Trustee. Finished BS Agricultural Engineering and a graduate of Advance ROTC from the Palawan National Agricultural College (WPU). Acquired units in MS Extension Systems Management at Western Philippines University. Worked in Government offices (DAR, NIA, LGU-Narra) and 4 years as Environmental Officer in a mining firm based in Narra, Palawan; 3 years working experience in Bilateral GTZ (German-Philippines) Development Project in Palawan. Late of 1998 started working with the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program, now as PCCP – Field Operations Officer & KFI's founding member.



Program Manager Indira Dayang L. Widmann
Co-Manager/ Science Director Peter Widmann
Field Operations Coordinator Siegfred H. Diaz
KFI Administrative Assistant Sheen Hanjin Arib
Field Officer Dumaran Michael Plazos
Field Officer Pandanan Rene Abdulhamed Antonio
Zookeeper KIEBC Angeles Guion-Satioquia
Landscape In-charge Angelo Satioquia
PFTCP Director Dr. Sabine Schoppe
PFTCP Research Assistant Diverlie Acosta
PFTCP Field Officer Dumarao, Roxas Genelle Lagrada
Pangolin Research Assistant Dexter Alvarado


PCCP Wildlife Wardens/Wildlife Enforcement Officers:

Narra: Edwin Batac, Bernito Basio, Danilo Villaruz, Lucito Dangis, Mario Batac and William Deig;

Dumaran: Eddie Derecho, Angelo Paduga, Orlando Balmonte, Nestor Arzaga, Maximo Pineda, Benveniedo Tinapay, Bonifacio Articulo, Jesus Servano, Rodrigo Feria;

Pandanan, Balabac: Pudino Sabino, Ismael Dela Cruz, Jhony Casam, and Saipol Panggal).

PFTCP Wildlife Enforcement Officers, Dumarao, Roxas: Darwin Factor, John Rey Lagrosa, Gerry Cabildo, Romulo Velleza, Victorino Igam


Affiliated scientists

Glesselle Batin, Dos Palmas Research Unit

Miguelito Cervancia, City Agricultural Office

Dr. Roger Dolorosa, WPU

Joie Matillano, WPU

Lyca Sandrea Castro, WPU

Read the history of the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program►


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Page last updated: 12-Mar-17