DENR sets protocol on loan of PH eagle to wildlife facilities, zoos

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has issued a memo circular adopting a protocol on the loan of Philippine eagle for conservation breeding, scientific research and educational purposes.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said Memorandum Circular 2018-04 entitled, “Adopting the Protocol on the Loan of Philippine Eagle,” was issued in light of “increasing interests” from local and foreign wildlife facilities and zoological institutions to acquire live specimens of the raptor through a wildlife loan agreement.

Attached to the circular is a five-page document that outlines the conduct and procedures to be followed in the loan of Philippine eagle, which can only be approved by the DENR Secretary.

According to Cimatu, the protocol serves as a national guide in applications for loan of Philippine eagle to be evaluated by the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), in coordination with concerned DENR regional offices and the Philippine Eagle Working Group (PEWG).

“This protocol serves as a guide in the evaluation and approval of applications for securing loan agreements on Philippine eagles to ensure that the undertaking will make significant contributions in providing a viable program for addressing the threats to the species and its habitats,” Cimatu said.

The document was prepared by the PEWG, composed of experts from the BMB, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, Forest Management Bureau, University of the Philippines, PEF, and other conservation groups.

The protocol provides that only the DENR Secretary could grant the loan of the Philippine eagle. Only captive-bred eagles and eagles of wild origin unfit for release as identified by the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) shall be considered for loan.

Cimatu said that loaning the Philippine eagle to foreign wildlife facilities and zoological institutions would help generate awareness on the conservation needs of the national bird, which could function as an ambassador for Philippine biodiversity conservation.

“It could also stimulate international support for the conservation program, including interventions to address socio-economic factors that threaten the species in particular, and biodiversity at large,” Cimatu added.

The Philippine eagle is listed as a “critically endangered” raptor in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List and the country’s National List of Threatened Species under DENR Administrative Order 2004-15.

Wild populations of the species throughout the archipelago remain precarious with an estimated number of least 340 pairs. Hunting and loss of forest habitat remain the primary threats to its survival.

BMB Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez said the loan of several individuals of Philippine eagle in various locations is a “biosecurity measure” against risks posed by catastrophic events, such as disease outbreaks.

It is also a mechanism to ensure fall back population in case of extreme natural calamities, she added.

“Because of its small population, the Philippine eagle is vulnerable to impacts of environmental conditions such as natural calamities and outbreak of disease,” Rodriguez pointed out.

“Diseases, in particular avian influenza, are increasingly recognized as a significant risk factor that can affect both wild and captive populations of the Philippine eagle,” she added.

Under the protocol, eagles up for loan will be subjected to DNA test by the UP Institute of Biology to establish genetic markers.

Only recognized national or foreign scientific research or zoological institutions which signify their intentions to support conservation efforts for the Philippine eagle and with financial capability, expertise and proven track record qualify for grant of a loan agreement.

The receiving institution must be free of pathogenic avian influenza virus and must disclose occurrence of avian diseases in its facility at least within the last three years. It should not be located in a place contiguous to countries with confirmed incidents of avian flu outbreak.

The protocol also outlines the conditions provided in the wildlife loan agreement the DENR will enter with qualified local and foreign wildlife facilities and zoological institutions. # 

  

DENR mobilized chainsaw, field personnel in clearing, evacuation and relief operations

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has mobilized at least 87 chainsaws to fast track the cutting of felled trees in areas badly affected by typhoon Ompong.

This even as DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu committed the agency’s resources, including its field personnel, to continue providing assistance to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the local government units (LGUs) in their road clearing operations.

Initial reports received by the DENR’s Operations Center indicated some 87 chainsaws, including chainsaw operators, have been mobilized in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, and in the Cordillera Administrative Region, to fast track the clearing operations of felled trees along major roads, including those posing danger to the public.

On Friday, Cimatu activated the DENR Operations Center in central office in Quezon City to provide quick response to the public through its regional and field offices.

“This is the most opportune time to make good use of the chainsaws that we have confiscated. Chainsaws are appropriate to cut felled trees, especially the big ones, but shorten the time in the clearing operations of the local government units (LGUs), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and even by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in the National Capital Region,” Cimatu said.

In Metro Manila, DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda spearheaded the conduct of clearing operations in response to calls received by DENR Hotline reporting of fallen trees. As of September 15, Antiporda said at least 12 clearing operations were recorded in Quezon City, Malabon and Valenzuela City.

In areas badly affected by typhoon Ompong, the DENR field personnel were also activated to provide support to DPWH in its road clearing operations, among which was in Kiangan, Asipolo and Tinoc road in Ifugao, to enable the delivery of food packs to evacuees.

Aside from clearing operations, the DENR has also assisted in the evacuation of more than a thousand affected families and individuals in Aparri, Cagayan; Dupax del Norte; and Isabela, and in delivery and distribution of relief goods.

At least 60 families are now taking shelter at the DENR’s CENRO sub Maconacon office, 18 individuals at CENRO Palanan and four families at CENRO Casiguran.

The DENR’s Benguet provincial office was likewise evacuated due to a landslide area in Brgy. Little Kibungan, La Trinidad, Benguet province, and rescued five of its personnel in PENRO Isabela, who are now temporarily sheltered in its provincial office. ### 

  

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