The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
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Atienza 'Hunts' Bird Hunters

Department of Environment and Natural Resources website
Publishing date: Monday, Jan. 14, 2008 (2:58 PM)

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza today warned the public that killing, collecting or inflicting injury to wildlife, including bird species is unlawful, with violators facing imprisonment and payment of fines.

Atienza issued the warning following reports that some groups and individuals are actively engaged in hunting down birds -- some of which have been classified as vulnerable or threatened -- as a hobby or as a commercial venture.

“I have issued an order to DENR field personnel to look for or monitor the activities of bird hunters and act accordingly, in coordination with local government and police officials,” Atienza said. “We have a Wildlife Act aimed at conserving and protecting wildlife resources and habitats. This law explicitly prohibits the killing, collecting, hunting or possessing wildlife, their by-products and derivatives. We must implement this.”

The DENR chief expressed serious concern about reports that bird hunting expeditions are being organized by certain groups. Some have even brazenly advertised on the internet, soliciting public participation in bird hunting activities.

But DENR officials learned that some of these controversial web sites had been shut down following an uproar about photos posted on the web showing a group of individuals, with hunting rifles slung on their bodies, proudly displaying lifeless Philippine ducks or Philippine mallards.

The Philippine duck is a wild bird endemic to the country and classified as a vulnerable species. Though not yet endangered, the Philippine duck is under threat from adverse factors throughout their range and is likely to move to the endangered category in the future.

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines severely criticized the photos which showed the faces of the hunters and the dead birds as a “blatant disregard for the law.”

The association appealed to hunters to stop all sports hunting activities. “Shooting at vulnerable species, posing with them in great numbers and plastering them on websites does not inspire confidence that the hunters, claiming to be conservationists, are indeed so or that they can police their ranks to be so,” the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines said.

Atienza directed the DENR legal division to study the filing of charges against the bird hunters.

The penalty for killing or destroying vulnerable wildlife species is imprisonment of two years and one day to four years and/or a fine of P30,000 to P300,000.