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San Jose is the capital city of Mindoro Occidental and on the southern end of the island. It has a very nice city hall on the central square and Rex P. Gonzales from Aqua II the Quarantine Officer of the Provincial Fishery Office is also the owner of a nice Inn, where they serve drinks and food. Here having breakfast before the departure to Heiko's first destinations in the southern part of Mindoro Occidental.

 
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The first destination was to do research in the most southern creeks and river, which belong (flow) in the Municipality of Magsaysay. Interesting that their court of arms contains fishes...

 
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Unfortunately some creeks had very little water and no more fishes, and others were completely dry, except for the Bokal River on the extreme southern end.

 
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From the top: one of the fishes which Heiko was able to spot very fast was a belonid (Beloniformes, family Hemiramphidae), Zenarchopterus dunckeri; a captured male; the male gas a very long anal fin (with its sexual organ) and high dorsal fin (left) and the female both fins short; detail of its halfbeak and striking colours.

 
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Together in the same freshwater karst-spring of this part of the Bokal River was a Kulhia rubrestris (top) and Glossogobius probably G. giuris.


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Heiko was unable to find native fishes in many of the rivers – even more though in Mindoro Occidental because of the immense rice fields from the cost to the mountains. Almost every square metre used up for agriculture and everywhere pesticides in full use...

 
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...and if the native and endemic freshwater species have not died from the pesticides, then from the destruction of their habitats (top), and by the introduction of exotics, as here Channa striata, Paitan (centre) and Oreochromis niloticus (above). These survivors have no natural enemy and take over the space of endemic species and feed on their fry to become extinct... and extinct is forever.

 

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The only native species Heiko was able to find in this destroyed habitat of the Batoili River was a juvenile eleotrid (possibly Oxyeleotris aruensis), a beautiful snail (top), and this colourful shrimp, possibly also Atyopsis moluccensis.

 

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In the southern part of Mindoro Occidental are some beautiful coral reefs, there is some (diving)tourism including nice lodges and beach hotels, beautiful outrigger boats and plenty of marine fishes to eat. And there are beautiful people, and very friendly.

 

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Finally, on the last day Heiko spotted a "natural" river, which had not been contaminated, nor did it have any exotic, only native species. They call it Anahawin River, the water was clear and Heiko found 8 or 9 native species some of those here below:

 
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One or two species of Butis (possibly B. butis and B. amboiensis)...

 

 
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Giuris margaritacea (top) and a beautiful Hypseleotris species...


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...two sympatric living  Glassfishes, Ambassis species...


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...and Heiko believes a Bigeye Trevally, Caranx sexfasciatus in freshwater and a pipefish, possibly the endemic Microphis  jagorii - only known from the Philippines.

 
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In Mindoro Occidental is a prison very different from many others, they all it Penal Farm reservation and all prisoners farm here the land – something very practical and useful.

 
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The Carindan Lake was Heiko's final stop and reserach place in Mindoro Occidental and he sampled also here.

 
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Everywhere – in every Municipality – the visit to the local Fisheries was a must (and sometimes waste of time, in other occasions helpful with a local guide to help, although no one knows which are their native and which are the introduced species...). Mr. Elizabeth from san Jose was extremely helpful and accompanied Heiko back all the way to Manila. As no one had a map of Mindoro Occidental (in no bookshop, not in any one of the Fisheries offices, no place), therefore Heiko photographed Elizabeth's t-shirt, the only place with a map...

 

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...all in all Heiko was able to make some nice discoveries, but many (possibly most) of the endemic species, which once lived on Mindoro island are history. We will never know what lived in many of its rivers and lakes, if their habitats have not been destroyed or polluted, the introduced species have eliminated the native species. There is a top urgent need to catalogue once and for all times the still native species, the endemic freshwater treasures found in the Philippines and nowhere else. The time runs out – it is already 10 after twelve...

 
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