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Birds, Birdwatching and Ecotourism


It is becoming almost unthinkable that you would encounter a wild animal up close in the Philippines. They either get shot for food or collected as trophies or dispensable pets.

A sea eagle that was soaring less than 30 feet from me should remind me how lucky I was to experience the moment. For I don't know if I would get another chance in my lifetime.

You see, birdwatching should be a major ecotourism activity in the Philippines. We have more than 600 different species flying in our territory. And about 200 of them are found nowhere else in the world. Some are so rare that they live only on small islands and forests.

But we hardly value our wildlife. Not for ecotourism, nor the more abstract thing called biodiversity conservation. Their babies get collected, smuggled and sold as pets. Only 5% of the illegally traded birds usually survive. The rest die along the trade trail. We burn their habitats or cut down their nesting trees. We pour concrete on even the last remaining territories of birds. Just look at the plan of the government to destroy the bird sanctuary in Manila Bay (Las Pinas and Paranaque area) to give way for more reclamation.

I have to admit, that on a national scale, ecotourism is a lame excuse to save the remaining bird species in the Philippines or even for the people or the government to earn revenues for them. The money to be earned from birdwatching may not be enough to cover the profits of cutting down the trees, selling the baby birds, or building skyscrapers on their habitats.

But there are success stories of former hunters finally becoming advocates of conservation, of children convincing their parents to love the environment, of communities coming to terms that in order to survive, they have to live to the terms of their environments.

How I wish that a hundred, nay a thousand or even a hundred thousand Filipinos would declare that they have seen wildlife up close..... And yes, even personal.

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2 comments:

  1. I love watching bird especially if the bird I watch is Philippine Eagle. It was rare to see this bird flying in the open.

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  2. yeah... its very rare to see eagles flying in the sky carelessly... You must be so lucky to have the oppurtunity...

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