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Concern raised over hunting of native duck


CANDABA, Pampanga. — The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines has raised concern over the hunting of wildlife, particularly a species of duck endemic to the Philippines that has been considered vulnerable or threatened due to its low population.

As this developed, the club has documented an increase in the number of migratory birds that have come to the wetlands in this Pampanga town to escape the winter season from neighboring Asian as well as other far countries.

Michael Lu, Wild Bird Club president, has made a call to sports hunters to stop the hunting of the Philippine duck, known in Pampanga as the "dumara," to prevent the said species from being hunted to extinction.

Lu aired the club’s concern during a bird-watching activity here Saturday which was attended by Dutch Ambassador Robert Brinks, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye and Wild Bird Club officers and members hosted by Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo.

The club’s concern was roused after members came across several websites clearly showing hunters displaying dead birds, some of which, that include the Philippine duck, are considered vulnerable under the Red List of threatened birds in the world.

"This is a blatant disregard of RA 9147 or the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act. We accept hunting of game for food, culling in case of over-population and for ritual purposes. But we fail to see how defiance of the law qualifies sports hunters as conservationists, especially when they proudly display dead birds of a vulnerable species, one found nowhere else in the world with not enough studies to determine the capacity to survive loss of habitat and other threats," said a statement issued by the club recently.

Lu said the websites displayed the Philippine duck as having been shot down in numbers that horrify scientists and birders alike.

"The Philippine duck is endemic to the Philippines and classified as vulnerable, with only 5,000 to 10,000 birds left. The majesty of these birds in flight, in their delicate V-formation, cannot fail to inspire. But the interruption of their flight by hunters, some of which are members of the Philippine National Shooting Team, makes us shudder," he said.

Lu believes hunters can be reasoned with and if they know the score, will restrain themselves from wiping out species. He appeals to them to find out as much as they can of their impact on remaining habitats, breeding populations and act with precautionary principle in mind.

"We urge them to stop all sports hunting in observance of the law until strict regulations that can aid conservation are proven by scientific and objective data and analysis. Self-regulation by hunters and high-level monitoring by an empowered and resource-rich State may be prerequisites to a Philippines where hunting could be allowed," it was cited.

The group also appealed to DENR and the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) to demonstrate speedy and effective enforcement of RA 9147.