This species was previously only known from Palawan, Culion and Busuanga Islands in the Palawan Island Group in the Philippines. Recent records have extended its range on Palawan and to Dumaran Island; it could occur more widely and may be found on Balabac island (A. Diesmos pers. comm. March 2018). It occurs between 0–800 m asl (A. Diesmos pers. comm. March 2018).
Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits undisturbed and disturbed streams and rivers in lower montane and lowland forests, where it breeds and lays its eggs. The larvae develop in quiet side pools in clean rivers. It does not tolerate much habitat disturbance and always requires forest cover (A. Diesmos pers. comm. March 2018).
It is a very common species, especially in streams (A. Diesmos pers. comm. March 2018). Due to ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
The major threat is the destruction and conversion of both lowland and montane rainforest habitat due to small-scale agricultural activities, large-scale oil palm plantations, wood collection for charcoal production, expanding human settlements due to high levels of immigration, nickel and chromite mining, and limestone, sand and gravel quarrying (Philippines Red List Assessment Workshop May 2017). In addition, the quality of its stream habitat is subject to pollution due to agricultural effluents, soil erosion, and mine-tailings (Philippines Red List Assessment Workshop May 2017).
The range of this species includes several protected areas, including Cleopatra's Needle Forest Reserve, Mount Mantalingaha Protected Landscape, El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area.
The Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan for areas was put into place by the national government in 1992, which aims to divide the island into a network of environmentally critical areas above 1,000 m asl (ECAN - Environmentally Critical Areas Network). The plan is operationalized on a local level by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development. The map of these areas is currently being updated to include lowland areas below 1,000 m asl.
The Global Conservation Fund established a $1 million endowment fund for the Mount Mantalingajan range. The funds are held by the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation and are used to protect remaining forest on the mountain.
The Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation is also managing about $30 million in funds from debt payments due to the US government, which are instead allocated for spending during 2016-2026 towards forest protection in three priority areas: Palawan Island, the Sierra Madre on Luzon Island, and eastern Mindanao Island.
The most important conservation measure is to designate the remaining tracts of intact lowland rainforest on Palawan as protected areas.
Further work is needed to better understand the population size, distribution, and trends.
Red List Status
Near Threatened (NT)
Listed as Least Concern due to its wide distribution and presumed large population.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2018. Pulchrana moellendorffi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T58669A113811409. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T58669A113811409.en .Downloaded on 21 January 2019