Negros Occidental celebrates Wildlife Month
BY: ERROL A. GATUMBATO
In an attempt to further advance the awareness of the general public on the importance of wildlife, the province of Negros Occidental through the Provincial Environment Management Office, Negros Forest and Ecological Foundation, Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and other concerns organizations are taking the lead in commemorating the Wildlife Month this November. This celebration is also timely with the observance of the International Year of Biodiversity this 2010, as declared by the United Nations.
It is quite interesting that the province started to give importance on wildlife conservation because Negros Island is now known as one of the biodiversity hotspots of the Philippines. Compared to some other islands in the country, Negros has more endemic species with distribution limited only to the island and/or in the Negros-Panay Bio-Geographic Region. Unfortunately, most if not all of these endemic species are now threatened to extinction in the wild primarily due to habitat destruction and over exploitation. The remaining population of terrestrial endemic species of Negros is surviving in the limited forest habitats.
The significance of the wildlife found in Negros has in fact prompted the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the DENR and other national institutions to include several areas of the island in the 128 Key Biodiversity Areas of the Philippines. The KBAs in Negros are the Northern Negros Natural Park, Mount Kanla-on Natural Park, Banban Forest, Southwestern Negros, and Cuernos de Negros. Of these sites, Cuernos de Negros and Mount Kanla-on have the most number of critically endangered species counted at seven and four, respectively. Critically endangered is the status given to species that have limited population left in the wild and severely facing the threat of extinction if no urgent conservation measures are adopted.
The Wild Month celebration will take off tomorrow with the opening of green exhibit of the non-government organizations at 11:00 in the morning at the Gaisano Mall and a coloring activity for kids, dubbed as different shades of greens, will immediately follow. Another exhibit for green businesses shall open at November 10 at 11:00 am in SM City while Sumakwel story telling, guided tour, and coloring activity shall be conducted at the NFEFI compound at 2:30 in the afternoon. Simultaneously in the different cities and municipalities of the province is the wildlife film showing on November 11 and will be followed the following day of extemporaneous speech and easy writing competitions from one to five in the afternoon at the Teodoro Hall of the West Negros University.
Some other activities have been lined up during the entire celebration of the Wildlife Month in Negros Occidental. Further details of various activities are available at the Provincial Environment Management Office and Negros Forest and Ecological Foundation.
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