Sanctuary cited in environmental treaty
11:00 pm | Saturday, April 6th, 2013
Chalk this one up for avian enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists.
Groups defending a bird sanctuary on
against reclamation projects and disapproving aviation authorities have
obtained international validation for their cause. Manila Bay
The Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) was recently included on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
The list is drawn up in line with the Ramsar Convention, an international environmental treaty adopted in
in 1971 to promote the conservation and sustainable use of swamps, lakes,
rivers, mangroves and salt pans across the globe. The treaty currently covers
165 countries and 2,109 wetlands or “Ramsar sites.” Ramsar, Iran
Sixth in PH
The Las Piñas-Parañaque sanctuary is the sixth Ramsar site to be declared in the
and the only one in Metro Manila. The others are the Agusan Marsh Wildlife
Sanctuary in Mindanao, the Philippines Naujan Lake National Park
in Oriental Mindoro province, the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu
province, the Tubbataha Reefs National
in the Sulu Sea, and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean
Park in Palawan province.
The Ramsar secretariat announced LPPCHEA’s inclusion in the list in a website post on March 15. In a visit to the country last month, Ramsar secretary general Anada Tiega handed the certificate to Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
LPPCHEA is a 175-hectare urban coastal wetland that covers two islands—
Freedom Island in Parañaque and Long
Island in Las Piñas—and some 30 hectares of dense mangrove
Stopover for 82 species
In an interview on Saturday, Wild Bird Club of the
president Mike Lu said the sanctuary can host up to 5,000 birds at a time from
82 species. Two of these species are now considered threatened, the Chinese
Egret and the endemic Philippine Duck, he said. Philippines
“Most of them are migratory, coming here from
Siberia from August to April,” Lu said. The club is a
member of the sanctuary’s management council.
The Ramsar web post noted, however, that the site is under threat from “ongoing land reclamation projects and mangrove cutting” as well as residential and industrial wastes from surrounding areas.
It stressed that wetlands should be restored and rehabilitated for being sources of biodiversity and “great economic, scientific, cultural, and recreational value for the community.”
They also “play a vital role in climate change adaptation and mitigation,” it added.
The LPPCHEA was declared a critical habitat and ecotourism area under Presidential Proclamation No. 1412 in 2007.
But environmentalists have been campaigning since last year against plans to reclaim parts of
for commercial development, which they say would have adverse impacts on the
sanctuary. Manila Bay
Need for special protection
Former Las Piñas representative and now senatorial candidate Cynthia Villar has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking protection for the sanctuary and questioning a 635-hectare reclamation project backed by the Philippine Reclamation Authority and the local governments of Parañaque and Las Piñas.
In a statement on Saturday, Villar said the Ramsar recognition highlighted “LPPCHEA’s global importance to biodiversity and the need to give it special protection from various threats.”
“I have repeatedly talked about the catastrophic effects that the proposed reclamation project will bring about, including the damage to the bird sanctuary as well as to the mangrove forest and marine habitat. (It) will also cause severe flooding in 37 barangays in Bacoor (in
province), 11 in Parañaque and 17 in
Las Piñas,” she said. Cavite
Last year, defenders of the sanctuary also had to contend with aviation officials who warned that the birds posed safety hazards to aircraft at
Naia’s state operator, the Manila International Airport Authority, called for the sanctuary’s removal, citing the rising number of bird strikes reported by local and international airlines.
Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/386293/bird-haven-defenders-get-international-boost#ixzz2Q3pYKPdz