The practice of hunting groups posting grisly pictures of shot birds on their websites has provoked a backlash in the Philippines, WWF said.
Hundreds of doves, mallards, whistling ducks and snipes, many protected by Philippine and international laws, have been exhibited on club websites.
A vigilant citizen from the Philippine province of Negros, Josef Sagemuller, immediately alerted the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) and, supported by WWF, they issued a petition to gather 10,000 signatures to put a stop to this action. Afterwards, the pictures were rapidly pulled out.
Both organizations also reminded the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources that, according to the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, collection and hunting of threatened wildlife is prohibited.
“The spirit our environmental regulations were crafted upon reflects the critical status of our natural resources, dwindling on the verge of collapse”, says Yeb Sano, WWF-Philippines project manager. “Birds and wildlife have important roles to play in the circle of life and decimating their populations would threaten the viability of all ecosystems.”
More than 200 Philippine birds, out of 600 resident and migratory species, are included in the Wold Conservation Union’s red list of critically-endangered species. Among them the Philippine cockatoo, the Negros fruit-dove and the Philippine eagle, considered by some experts as the largest eagle on earth.
Birds play a key role for the Philippine environment. Their eating fruits and dispersing of the seeds over wide parts of land is crucial in revitalizing forests. Some nectar-feeders such as the olive-backed sunbird are important pollinators.
Seabirds improve the ecology of small islands by producing large amounts of guano which enriches island soil, allowing less adaptable plants to root.
“The exposure of groups hunting threatened species illustrates the huge chasm between policies and implementation. In a democracy symbolized by an unshackled bird, it is ironic that gun-toting groups are deliberately violating national law while hunting threatened birds”, adds Yeb Sano.
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