Apo Reef Natural Park names ‘Mameng’ as flagship species
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has lauded the naming of Napoleon Wrasse (Cheilinus undulates) — a coral reef fish locally known as “Mameng” — as the flagship species of the world-famous Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) in Occidental Mindoro province.
Napoleon Wrasse is one of the largest reef fishes and the biggest of the wrasse family, Labridae. It has thick lips and bulbous hump on the forehead.
The species is marked with green and blue hues with elongated dark spots on scales, and two distinct lines stretching from each eye. It may grow up to six feet long and weighs up to 200 kilograms.
The fish is commonly found on steep coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region, which include areas in Southeast Asia like the Philippines’ ARNP in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. It feeds on toxic animals, such as crown-of-thorns starfish, a poisonous starfish that feeds on corals.
“Declaring Mameng as a flagship species will certainly boost all efforts to protect and conserve not only the Apo Reef, but more importantly the rich biodiversity that thrive in the protected area,” Cimatu said.
The declaration of Mameng as ARNP’s flagship species was contained in a resolution approved by the DENR-Mimaropa regional office and Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) last week.
The resolution was pursuant to DENR Memorandum Order No. 1993-07, which provides for the declaration of a flagship species.
Under Memorandum Order 1993-07, a species can be declared a flagship species if it meets the following criteria: the species’ outstanding characteristics, occurrence, capacity to attract attention, and contribution to conservation areas.
As a flagship species, Napoleon Wrasse shall serve as the symbol of conservation of ARNP.
Right now, Napoleon Wrasse is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna or CITES–Appendix II. This means it is not necessarily threatened with extinction now, but may become so in the future unless trade is closely monitored.