By Anna Valmero
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA—A Davao-based conservation group reiterated its call to save the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) and other wildlife in tropical forests.
“A pair of Philippine eagles needs at least 7,000 to 13,000 hectares of forest as a nesting territory but the huge loss of forest cover threatens the survival of our national bird in the wild and ultimately, us, Filipinos, who depend on the forest for raw materials and water,” said Tatit Quiblat, spokesperson of the Philippine Eagle Foundation.
From the original forest cover of 2.7 million hectares prior to the Spanish occupation, the country has since lost over 80 percent of this, leaving only 7.168 million hectares of forest land, according to 2003 statistics from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Only two regions in the Philippines, namely the Cagayan Valley and Mimaropa, each have 14 percent of the remaining forest cover in the country. according to DENR.
Deforestation causes irreversible consequences such as flooding, landslides, water supply shortage and extinction of wildlife and plant species, which can disrupt the fragile ecological balance of the planet.
Quiblat urges Filipinos to “seriously look at investing and enforcing laws to keep existing forests intact and rehabilitating damaged environments.”
Instead of pouring billions for relief operations during disasters such as Typhoon Ondoy, she said the government, civil society and private sector should be vigilant in taking up “preventive measures by reforestation of the country's tropical and mangrove forests and by institutionalizing climate change adaptation methods”.
“The job to care for the environment is not only for conservation groups or for the government, it is a everyone's job,” said Quiblat.
On June 4, a Green Mob parade from Rizal Park in Davao to NCCC mall will be held in support of Philippine Eagle Week. The Philippine Eagle Center will be open to visitors all day for free.
“GreenMob stands for Green Mobilization, where we employ alternative and energy-efficient modes of transportation or mobilization such as bike, skate, run, walk, street dance, and electric vehicles to raise awareness on the issue of climate change,” said Quiblat, adding there will be 150 delegates from schools, youth groups and government agencies joining the event.
For the whole Philippine eagle week, students and groups can tour the Philippine Eagle Center to know the stories of rescued animals. There are also activities such as henna tattoo, coloring and face painting for kids.
For companies or groups, you can join the month-long Tree of Hope treeplanting caravan wherein you will plant native Philippine trees at the Philippine eagle center or at identified nesting sites such as Arakan Valley. Aside from tree planting, you can sponsor a tree seedling to be planted by the community for P100 each.
On June 5, there will be a dance competition called SAYAgila at the NCCC mall to be participated in by Davao-based schools. Finals for the dance contest is on June 11, alongside other activities such as cultural presentation and storytelling
For more details of the Philippine Eagle Week events, contact Quiblat at (082) 2712337, 09177122895 or email email@example.com.
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