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DOT, BirdLife sign agreement for Cebu birdwatching tours

October 8, 2009 9:45 am

CEBU CITY, Oct. 8 – The Department of Tourism (DOT) and BirdLife International Inc. (BLI) have signed and agreement to support a bird conservation program as part of its strategy to promote birdwatching tourism in Cebu and other parts of the country.

Tourism Secretary Joseph “Ace” Durano said the DOT is promoting Birdwatching Phillipines as part of its adventure tourism packages.

It was declared the “species champion” for the Cebu Flowerpecker during the 2009 British Bird Watching Fair last Aug. 21 to 23 in Rutland, United Kingdom.

”The country has a very big potential in mainstream tourism that’s why we are pushing tourism traffic in the interior,” Durano said.

Durano was in Cebu Monday for the ceremonial signing and press conference of the Species Champion Agreement of DOT and BirdLife International Inc. (BLI) at the Marco Polo Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City .

Durano said the bird conservation program started two years ago but it only picked up this year when the British fair featured the Cebu Flowerpecker as its flagship species, under the theme “lost and found.”

The critically endangered Cebu Flowerpecker was once though extinct until it was rediscovered in 1992 in pocket forests in the hinterland barangay of Tabunan in Cebu City .

Of the 200 bird species in the Philippines , the Cebu Flowerpecker that is found in Alcoy town ranked third among the rarest birds in the country.

”This creates instant awareness and consciousness. If you are a birdwatcher, you will be compelled to consider Cebu as your next site,” Durano said.

“This bird has never been photographed and this further creates mystique,” he said. He said Alcoy town residents can become tour guides to help locate and identify the birds.