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