Posted at Inquirer.net 1:47
pm September 26, 2010
By Anna Valmero
Students crowd the main activity tent
DAVAO CITY, DAVAO DEL SUR - Grade Six students
CJ Taglao and Angel Rose Diganow now see birds as more than
just house pets after attending lectures during the first
Asian Bird Festival held here.
CJ and Angel, together with some 1,700 elementary
students, learned a lot about the importance of keeping the
birds in the wild and what young kids like them can do to
take care of birds in their natural habitats.
The event was organized by the Wild Bird
Club of the Philippines (WBCP).
The Philippines is among 17 countries that
hold majority of the earth’s terrestrial bird species,
as identified by the World Conservation Monitoring Center
of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
There are more than 600 different species
of birds in the Philippines , some 200 of these endemic or
can only be found in the country. In 2004, Carmela Española,
a Filipino wildlife biologist and WBCP member, discovered
the latest bird specie in the country, the Calayan rail.
Kids posing in front of the educational bird tarps
“Mabuti na may Asian bird festival
dito ngayon para malaman ng ibang tao yung mga isyu at matulungan
natin yung bird conservation (I think holding the first Asian
bird festival here is very helpful in raising the awareness
on issues and to help bird conservation efforts),” says
CJ, while I chatted with him as he was viewing the photo exhibit
by the Philippine Wild Bird Photographers (PWBP).
“Mas maganda na simulan naming mga
kabataan na malaman kung bakit dapat hayaan natin ang mga
ibon sa labas at hindi nakakulong. Pag inalagaan natin sila,
mae-enjoy natin na makita silang lumilipad at hindi sila magiging
extinct (It is important that students and the youth like
us are aware of these conservation issues so that we will
know how to take care of birds in their natural habitats.
If we take efforts to conserve and preserve their species,
we can enjoy watching them in the wild and they will not become
extinct),” says Angel.
WBCP is a nonprofit organization that raises
conservation issues through bird watching, said Alice Villa-Real,
chairperson of the Asian Bird Festival.
Villa-Real taught the students the basics
of bird watching. She says people in Mindanao are lucky because
the region is home to numerous endemic species that cannot
be seen elsewhere in the world.
Davao, in particular, is home to the Philippine
eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi).
Other species that have been recorded in
Mindanao include the Philippine frogmouth (Batrachostomus
septimus), silvery kingfisher (Alcedo argentata), celestial
monarch (Hypothymis coelestis), short-tailed glossy starling
(Aplonis minor), Apo mynah (Basilornis mirandus), Steere’s
pitta (Pitta steeri), Mindanao tarictic hornbill (Penelopides
affinis), Apo sunbird (Aethopyga boltoni), Cinnamon ibon (Hypocryptadius
cinnamomeus), and Rufous flycatcher (Myiarchus semirufus),