Wild bird enthusiasts have called on Negrenses to take the lead in organizing biodiversity in the island to protect the habitate and help in restoring endemic wildlife.
Dr. Arne Jensen of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and Prof. Renee Paalan of the Center for Tropical Conservation Studies blamed habitat conversion, loss of forests and hunting pressure as the primary threats to biological diversity.
In the forum, they discussed about the 18 threatened species in Negros of which four are critically endangered, five endangered and nine vulnerable.
Paalan said the number of threatened species continues to increase and the population of forest-dependent wild birds is in massive decline as indicated by the decline or absence of larger bird species such as hornbills and pigeons.
Paalan said the reported increase in the forest cover is not enough to sustain reproductive populations of some species because what is planted is mainly exotic single species but the original forest cover has continuously declined.
“We need the participation of very large numbers of students and citizens in tree planting because it could become habitat and wildlife restoration. Hopefully, they would take the lead to organize and passionately run a ‘Dumaguete wildlife and Forest protection Club,” Paalan said.
Meanwhile, the president of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines Ana Gonzales and representative Dr. Arne Jensen expressed their disappointment at the measly turnout and participation of local conservation groups, academic institutions, and local government units (LGU) in the conservation forum about biodiversity.
“We are expecting these different sectors to attend this forum because this is what we have planned before we conduct this conservation forum,” Gonzales said.
Jensen added that “the apathy that these people show in this event is a manifestation why we have a condition of biodiversity problems.”
Jensen also said that in a collaboration and partnership, they need the good environment governance attitude among LGUs, very environment-friendly educational sector and high motivation among Dumaguete citizens and students. (Candido Lato, Jr.)