NegOcc wildlife park devastated by ‘Odette’ calls for help

The Talarak Foundation, Inc. (TFI), a shelter for endangered West Visayan wildlife, has appealed for urgent assistance to rebuild its conservation center in Kabankalan City that was devastated by Typhoon Odette last week.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, the TFI, which has two captive breeding centers in Negros Occidental – the Negros Forest Park in this city, and the Kabankalan-based Feather Park – sought monetary and in-kind donations to rescue the animals left and to support its keepers and staff.

“We are knocking on your generous hearts once again. We would like to ask for your continued support as we do our best to give our endangered and endemic species, as well our hardworking keepers in Kabankalan, a second shot at life,” the group said.

According to the TFI, Feather Park, the breeding center that houses the majority of most-endangered birds, was destroyed by strong winds and floods.

“The typhoon caused massive structural damage to the enclosures and homes of the keepers and unfortunately, the heartbreaking loss of life to many of our hornbills and other species,” the post said.

“Typhoon Odette did not leave anyone or anything unscathed in our Kabankalan-based breeding center. We are still struggling to battle thick mud, floodwater, massive debris, and other terrible losses in Feather Park.”

The organization said its next goal is to give all surviving endangered and endemic animals “proper care, treatment, and the spacious, stress-free environment they need to recover as soon as possible.”

Its most critical residents from Feather Park were the first to be safely evacuated, and are currently taking refuge at the Negros Forest Park and Bayawan Nature Reserve in Negros Oriental.

“We’re now working on rehousing the rest of the animals waiting in Kabankalan,” the TFI said.

Urgent needs include food, water, medicine, and other essentials for both the animals and staff.

Also needed are “veterinary attention for the animals, and when necessary, transportation to move them to safer shelters.”

The TFI added that they also need to “fix the monstrous damage to the aviaries, keeper shelters, and other conservation facilities,” as well as “clear up debris and silt.”

The organization is at the forefront of the conservation of five key species endemic to West Visayas, among them the critically endangered Visayan Warty Pig, Negros Bleeding Heart Dove, and Walden’s Hornbill, and the endangered Tarictic Hornbill and Visayan Spotted Deer.

Its name, Talarak, is the local term for Walden’s Hornbill, also known as the Visayan Wrinkled Hornbill, Rufous-headed Hornbill, or the Writhed-Billed Hornbill.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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