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Hunter admits shooting birds considered pests

PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER
February 4, 2008, Page A-18
HEADLINES - REGIONS


Hunter admits shooting birds considered pests
February 04, 2008
Updated 07:20:36 (Mla time)
Carla Gomez
Visayas Bureau

CEBU CITY -- The man who posted the controversial pictures of hunters posing with dead birds on a website called the Bacolod Air Rifle Hunting Club denied that they hunt for fun.

Gino Castandielo, who does advertising work for a living, disputed the statement of one of their companions who agreed to an interview on condition of anonymity.

The former bird hunter said his group shot down the birds for fun and for the challenge.

But Castandielo said they shot down the birds upon the request of landowners who considered the birds farm pests. He explained that they did their hunting only in private properties.

He insisted they were not shooting down endangered birds.

The Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act is not specific enough on what it covers, he pointed out.

Compromise

The claim that wild ducks are endangered is debatable, but the hunters are prepared to compromise and spread the word not to shoot them, Castandielo said.

He said he could stop hunting right now but the farmers would continue to kill birds they consider pests to their crops.

He said the photos he posted on the Internet were taken in Pontevedra town, but would not say where and on whose property.

Castandielo also said there was no formal organization called the Bacolod Air Rifle Hunting Club and explained that he just used that name for the website he created.

Among the photos featured on the site were those of dead birds, which included endangered wild ducks, raising an international outcry among environmentalists.

Pavel Hospodarsky, a volunteer consultant of the Biodiversity Conservation Center of the Negros Forest and Ecological Foundation Inc. (NFEFI), said the wild ducks were endemic to the Philippines and classified as vulnerable, with only 5,000 to 10,000 birds left in the country.

NFEFI chair Gerry Ledesma also denied that the birds hunted were pests.