DENR seeks support to protect wetlands

DENR seeks support to protect wetlands

ILOILO CITY – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here is asking for public support, especially those communities near wetlands, to help in the preservation of areas where migratory birds thrive.

DENR assistant regional director Livino Duran said on Thursday there are wetlands in the Western Visayas serving as destinations for migratory birds.

“We have a continuous monitoring of our wetlands because other migratory birds already become residents of Western Visayas,” he said in an interview.

One of the latest migratory birds documented was the Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) in the wetlands of Hinactacan, La Paz district on Nov. 29, 2020. It was captured by the camera lens of Rachel Casio of the DENR Conservation and Development Division.

“After three years, another first sighting of a rarely seen migratory bird in the country was recorded in Hinactacan wetlands,” the DENR in a press statement said.

The Glossy ibis is a wading bird with a global range and is the most widespread of all ibis species, but very rarely observed in the Philippines.

At a distance, the Glossy ibis may seem dark. A closer look and good lighting, however, would reveal stunning colors of deep maroon, emerald, bronze, and violet, the statement added.

Since these birds are long-legged with long bills, these are sometimes mistaken as Eastern curlew. They also forage quite close together in open fresh marshes but are also seen in brackish and saltwater marshes, mudflats, mangrove swamps, wet agricultural fields, lakes, shallow rivers, and pond edges.

One amusing behavior of the Glossy ibis is that during courtship, it was observed bowing to one another, preening each other (called allopreening), and touching their bills together, rattling them quickly while cooing.

Glossy ibis is known to breed in scattered sites in warm regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Atlantic and Caribbean regions of the Americas.

Duran said some migratory birds opted to stay because they have already adopted the habitat and food is sufficient in the community.

Also the awareness of the public not harming them is already high, thus the migratory birds already mingle within the community.

“Most of our wetlands are near the community. If they (migratory birds) are left unharmed, more or less they will just adapt to the situation,” he added.

He added that apart from migratory birds, they are also looking at bird species endemic in Western Visayas.

Once their study on protected areas suitability management for the central Panay mountain range is released, then they would know the species available on the island.

“Each species is important in our lives. They form part of what we call an equally important member of our ecosystem. We must protect and take care of them because in the future they can be our pride. They can form part of our heritage,” he added. (PNA)

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