Published in the Sun.Star
Pampanga newspaper on January 19, 2010.
(Jovi T. De Leon )
A duck hunter in full hunting gear caught
shooting migratory bird species with a caliber
.22 rifle in one of the ponds in Candaba Marsh.
CANDABA - Population of migratory water birds
here has decreased due to hunting and coverting of wetlands
to melon plantation, environment groups on Sunday noted.
This concern was brought up after the Wild
Bird Club (WBC), the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR), the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau
and the local government here conducted the Asian Waterbird
Census 2010 in Paralaya, two sites in Doña Simang and
another new site in Perlas.
WBC official Mike Lu told Sun.Star Pampanga
that the annual migratory bird count is conducted worldwide
simultaneously to identify the birds' migratory patterns and
the causes of their migration.
"Here in Candaba, we have noted a decrease
in the population of migratory birds from around 13,160 in
four sites last year to just about 12,000 this year in just
three areas. Primarily, the decrease could be attributed to
the conversion of fishponds to farmlands and melon plantations,"
He added that hunting of these birds by enthusiasts'
further compunded the situation.
Lu disclosed that the local government of
Candaba and the WBC had once caught on camera a hunter in
full hunting gear and garb, shooting on rare species of migratory
birds with a caliber .22 rifle in one of the areas.
Municipal Administrator Leny Manalo supported
Lu's statements but denied that the hunters are from the town
locals. Manalo also said the local government has been patrolling
to protect the migratory birds in the town's wetlands.
The conversions of some of the wetlands were
part of the efforts of the municipal government to help farmers
to rebound from the effects of the recent calamities, Manalo
said. Free seedlings have also been distributed to the local
Manalo also cited that the watermelon and
melon plantations have boomed during the last season.
"Of course we cannot refute the fact
that some of the natural habitat of these migratory birds
has been affected, but we are making all efforts to balance
the livelihood of our farmers as well our ecosystem,"
Both Lu and Manalo, however, discounted that
the decrease of the number of birds here has brought to the
increase of migratory birds spotted in one area in Bataan
"They all have different migration patterns.
Some stay for a while, some just make stopovers. It's really
the destruction of their habitat and these hunters that drive
them away," both claimed.