Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu is calling for a global effort to save migratory birds that are at risk of extinction, following the loss of habitat in their flight path and climate change.
Cimatu made the call in his speech that was delivered by Undersecretary Jim Sampulna of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources during the opening rites of the 2nd East Asian-Australasian Flyway Congress at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City yesterday.
Around 200 delegates from different countries, such as Russia, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, United States of America, Cambodia, Japan, and Pakistan participated in the congress that will run until October 11 and tackle the effects of climate change on wetlands and migratory waterbirds. It will also come up with management strategies to save the wetland habitat for sustainable urban future.
“While migratory waterbirds endure strong winds, harsh weather and numerous predators to fly thousands of miles, we believe that it is just imperative that we also come together, as one body, for a flyway-wide collaboration,” Cimatu said.
He said the Philippines is home to thousands of migratory birds. “We have seven sites that were designated as wetlands of international importance, or Ramsar Sites, with a surface area of around 244,000 hectares, and more than 70 other wetlands are also in the country.”
He added that the Philippines continuously serves as haven to more than 300,000 birds during the migration season.
Negros Occidental, the latest addition to the Ramsar Sites in the country, is home to the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area that covers nine municipalities and a city, he said.
Due to habitat loss, changes in land use, and increased human disturbance, as well as climate change, play an adverse role on bird migration and affect their biodiversity, he added.
“We are grateful that we have convened again renowned scientists, researchers, and environmentalists and undertakings about migratory birds and their wetland habitats. Conferences such as this provide us with a valuable opportunity to get our acts together,” he said.
He also said it is imperative to modify approaches to wildlife conservation and natural resources management in the protection of migratory birds and the ecosystem.*
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