Environment dept monitors migratory birds in W. Visayas wetlands

ILOILO CITY-- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is monitoring priority wetlands in Western Visayas for the presence of migratory birds following the sighting of a Brent Goose in Hinactacan, Lapaz here last February 4.

It was recorded as the first Brent Goose (Branta bernica nigricans)to visit the Philippines by the DENR's Conservation and Development Division (CDD).

The visit of the Brent Goose was confirmed by bird experts Philip Godfrey Jakosalem and Liza Paguntalan of the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. (PBCFI) when they went to the area to validate the presence of the specie last February 5.

Hinactacan is a priority wetland in Western Visayas.

DENR-Western Visayas development management officer 2 assigned at the Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Section, Melba Salditos, said Friday many migratory birds have been visiting the area but this was the first time that a Brent Goose was sighted.

She said the black goose, which was wading in a fishpond, was caught by the lens of Rachel Casio of CDD. They were however not sure if it was really a Brent Goose until experts came to validate it.

Casio was among DENR-Western Visayas personnel who have undergone intensive training on waterbird identification and wetlands monitoring conducted by the DENR-CDD last January 4-7.

According to Salditos, the usual migratory range of the Brent Goose is from the extreme northeastern Siberia to north-central Canada. It mainly stays during winters down the Pacific coastline of North America, from Alaska and moves south to Baja California, as well as Japan and Kamchatka, Russia.

It breeds in the eastern part of North Asia and Alaska, a rare visitor to the northern part of East Asia in the non-breeding period. The specie could be found in a variety of habitats, including lakes, marshes in the coastal tundra, mudflats and coastal grasslands.

She added that migratory birds usually stay in an area for a maximum of two weeks.

Salditos pointed out that the visit of the Brent Goose served as a reminder to the people to further strengthen their protection of wetlands, which are home to migratory birds.

Meanwhile, the wetland area in Barangay Gabuc, Pontevedra Capiz, which is a proposed bird sanctuary, is being evaluated by DENR-Western Visayas as a possible entry for wetlands of international importance or Ramsar Site. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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