Monday, December 24, 2007

Animal Welfare. Senator Zubiri Statement on Hunting Philippine Wildlife

Here is the Philippine Star's report on Senator Zubiri's statement in favor of Conservation and Animal Welfare:

ZUBIRI WANTS POACHERS, BIRD KILLERS PUNISHED

Losing any of them to extinction would be breaking a link in the chain of life not only of those birds but all of us, said Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, author of the "Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act" (RA 9147), on reports of bird massacre in Negros.

" These poachers should be punished and the penalties to be slapped should be strong enough to stop these practices and serves as a warning to others." Zubiri, a conservationist and executive director of the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation program and the Philippine Deer Foundation, was worried of the angry comments from signatories. The online global petition showed pictures of dead doves, mallards, whistling ducks and snipes.

This isn't just about conservation, it's about biodiversity, natural heritage, legacy and ecological balance, noting that collections of insects and agricultural pest also surged in recent years.

On top of penalizing poachers, we should put a stop to the massive destruction of their habitats to logging, human settlements and fire, among others.

Zubiri advised hunters who claimed they value wildlife, that "instead of putting out life, hunters should modify their motivations to that of creating life. It will be better for them to enjoy wildlife by setting up wildlife breeding farms for conservation, trade and/ or scientific purposes."

Instead of seeking a gun permit, they should apply for a breeding permit that's even available for commercial purposes under strict conditions.

Hunting is only allowed for indigenous people as part of their subsistence and hunting-and- gathering way of life and in very few circumstances only. The law is biased towards conservation not destruction as the strict permitting process could allow.

Zubiri explained that "no endangerd species should be hunted or captured except for research or conservation through breeding in captivity. We strictly ban the trade and killing of hundreds of species of birds."

Killing these birds for self-gratification or amusement is the height of insensitivity. Even the indigeous people have to follow strict traditions for hunting.

In 2004, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix I released by the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) listed 27 species of endemic and indigenous flora and fauna nationwide. It consists of 5 mammals,11 birds,9 reptiles,1 insect and 1 plant. This was in addition to the earlier list in 1995 under CITES I at 30 species. This includes the decline of protected mammals from 11 in 1995, to 5 in 2004.

Under Appendix II, flora and fauna species increased to 115 in 2004 from 104 in 1995. The 115 species consist of 21 mammals, 69 birds, 8 reptiles,2 insects and 15 plants. However, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and natural resources listed 265 species for priority protection.

Of the known 591 birds species in the country, 195 were endemic and 198 migrant. Of mammals, there are 107 endemic,71 resident and 7 migrant.

These flora and fauna are our country"s treasures. Some of our flagship species are the Cebu Black Shama, Tamaraw, Philippine Tarsier, Philippine Teak serving as icons of the provinces where their habitats are located.

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