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.