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Preventing wildlife extinction

Once again, the province of Negros Occidental commemorates Wildlife Month this November. Started in 2009 by virtue of a resolution passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the theme of this year's celebration is, “Preventing Extinction through Wildlife Education and Awareness”.

The Provincial Environment Management Office, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc., Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation, and other institutions, is taking the lead in organizing the yearly event.

The commemoration of Wildlife Month is a very important occasion in Negros Occidental, because many species found in the province are already at the brink of extinction in the wild. In fact, a good number of flora and fauna is already classified as threatened species at the Red List of Threatened Species of the IUCN – World Conservation Union and the DENR. Habitat destruction and hunting are the two major factors why many species found in Negros Occidental, and also in Negros Oriental, are classified either as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable species. These three threat classifications indicate the declining population of these species in the wild.

The highly threatened species found in Negros Occidental, and Negros Island, in general, are the Philippine or Visayan spotted deer, Visayan warty pig, Rufous-headed hornbill, Negros bleeding-heart pigeon and Negros fruit dove. The Birdlife International has declared the Negros fruit dove as a lost species since it has never been recorded again following its discovery in 1953. Species recorded in Negros Occidental that are classified as endangered include the Golden-crowned fruit bat, Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat, Visayan tarictic hornbill, White-throated jungle flycatcher, Negros striped-babbler, and Flame-templed babbler. Several other species found in Negros Occidental are listed as vulnerable to extinction.

The organizers of the Wildlife Month have lined up numerous activities for this month to further advance the importance and conservation of wildlife species found in the province. There would be a wildlife photo exhibit at the Robinsons Place in Bacolod City from November 9-13, and student research presentations on November 11, at 1 p.m., at the Social Hall, Capitol Administration Center. Bikers are invited to join the “Tour of the Fireflies: Bike for Climate Change” on November 15, from 6 a.m. to 12 noon. The bikers will traverse Talisay City, Silay City, EB Magalona, Victorias and Manapla.

Tourism enthusiasts are encouraged to join the workshop on wetlands tourism on November 20 at the Community Center in Bago City. This is very interesting, especially so that the wetlands from Bago City to Ilog in southern Negros Occidental are considered as wetlands of international importance, and may qualify for declaration under the Ramsar Convention of the United Nations.

The PBCFI will host the provincial wildlife quiz bowl 1-5 p.m. on November 21, at the La Consolacion College. The contest is open to all high school students. Winners during this round will participate in the national wildlife quiz bowl, which will be held in Cebu on November 24. On November 21, the Bacolod City Water District shall lead a tree planting activity at the Upper Calimban-Imbang Watershed at the boundaries of Talisay City and Murcia.

The month-long celebration will culminate with a cultural show and “Wildlife of Negros” parade on November 26, expected to be participated in by students and office representatives dressed in wildlife-inspired costumes.*

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