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Bird lovers ask Tomas to keep 40 species at SRP

SUN STAR CEBU
Thursday, August 30, 2007
p. A10
by Linette Ramos

SANCTUARY AT POND B PROPOSED

Bird lovers ask Tomas to keep 40 species at SRP


Local and foreign delegates to the 3rd Philippine BIrd Festival birdwatching at the SRP.

Although the South Road Properties (SRP) was developed to be an economic zone, a group of bird lovers asked Mayor Tomas Osmeña to establish a sanctuary there.

That way, the 40 species of birds that have made their home in the area can stay.

Officers of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines visited the mayor yesterday and gave him their proposal for a two-hectare park at the SRP.

They believe the park will be a good marketing tool for the SRP, "because you will have an open park between the buildings."

The group is proposing to help set up[ within the 290-hectare facility a small park that will be patterned after the Parañaque Critical habitat and Ecotourism Area.

Wait for Locators

Osmeña said he is willing to keep the migratory birds and other species endemic to the Philippines once locators start moving to the SRP.

"We will try to set aside an area for the birds. It's something that I take pride in that we have all those birds there. We will try to keep them where they are," he told a news conference yesterday.

A portion of the 40-hectare Pond B is home to 40 species of birds, including egrets, seagulls, the Philippine duck and herons.

Osmeña fears he will lose the birds once SRP is fully developed.

"That's the greatest fear but we can enhance the attractiveness of the place to the wildlife, we will try to do something but what's important is that we look at models for this," He said, adding that he might visit bird sanctuaries abroad.

Technical assistance

Wild Bird Club of the Philippines president Michael Lu said they are willing to provide techinical assistance in the establishment of the park but they will leave its management to the City Government.

He and other officers agreed that birds should be allowed to thrive in urban centers like the SRP.

The club proposed to transfer the birds to Pond A, but this will have to be done gradually and the birds should have to settle in their natural habitat where there are no predators.

"There is no contradiction between birds and urban areas. In fact it's a good combination. If possibl;e, we are proposing to have an ecotourism area on a smaller scalethat we can do for Cebu and it's very doable at the SRP because we have birds there and the SRP is much cleaner thanManila," said Anna Gonzales of the Wild Bird Club.