Archive for the ‘Palawan’ Category

Despite conservation effort, 1/3 of world’s coral reefs face danger of extinction

October 22, 2008

Palawan’s Tubbataha National Marine Park is designated by the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as one of the World’s Heritage sites. It is being considered among the planet’s 7 new natural wonders. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) vice chair Lory Yap (Philippines) said the fish biomass in the reef practically doubled from 2004-2005 through regulated tourism and wildlife management.

Yet, in a separate report, 45 poachers were recently nabbed by marine park rangers in the area. The poachers attempted to bribe their way to gather an endangered sea-shell called samung (Tochus noliticus.) used to make commercial buttons and jewelry, sought for by traders in Cebu.

Conservation proponents continue to face an uphill battle against people who disregard efforts to protect and save the environment. More than 200 samung collectors this year have been apprehended in Tubbataha Reef in violation of an international agreement which penalizes violators to up to 12 to 20 years in prison.

In spite of such effort, about a third of the world’s coral reefs still face extinction because of climate change, sedimentation, and human intrusion. The ominous environmental changes and build up of pollution have hampered the reefs to rebuild, preventing fish and other marine life to thrive. Philstar (10/22/08, Ercheminada, P)

According to WWF spokesman, Gregg Yan, a kilometer square of undamaged coral reef can produce as much as 30 tons of seafood yearly for the sustenance of the people, but it depends on how much the reef is preseved and kept healthy.

Meeting in Manila, government officials and wildlife experts from countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands seek ways to save the world’s richest marine region which encompasses parts of Sulu-Sulawesi, South China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. Obviously, in terms of wildlife conservation, a lot has still to be done. (Photo Credits: melhins; courtneyplatt; mikebond) =0=

UPDATE: 10/24/08: The US government pledged a total of $39.45 million to save the world’s greatest coral reef (Coral Triangle) which borders six countries, including the Philippines. This was announced by US Ambassador Kristie Kenney putting the total pledges to $450 million from collective contributions from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, US Agency for International Development and the Australian Agency for International Development. =0=

Oil in Palawan brings optimism for Filipinos

October 10, 2008

There is a sense of joy to know that the Philippines has started extracting oil in its Galoc oil fields, 2,200 meters down in the Palawan seafloor on October 10, 2008. The well which is expected to produce 22,000 barrels per day has an estimated reserve of up to 20,000,000 barrels, according to government authorities. By estimate, this can last for about 2 ½ years unless other wells are discovered or rendered operational.

It is said that yield of the Galoc oil well covers 16% of the fuel needs of the country and will bring $1.6 billion in foreign exchange savings. The cost of building the well has been magnified because of bureaucratic delays and bad weather, a rise in cost from $86 million to $120 million.

The President is optimistic that this new development will positively impact on the administration’s efforts to reduce the country’s annual oil importation of $6 billion, and in turn will also contain the increasing cost of food and other commodities,” said Executive Secretary Ermita, Philstar (10/10/08, Romero P; Torres,T)

The successful oil drill boosts the optimism of Filipinos who are burdened by the fluctuation of fuel prices, rise in the cost of goods, and the threat of global recession. Though the oil production brings some relief to the financial pressure of importation, it remains to be seen how benefits trickle to the mainstream consumers. More production is desired to meet the daily national need of 300.000 barrels a day. Because of the polluting effects of fossil fuel on the environment, alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar, electromagnetic, hydroelectric, geothermal and possibly nuclear must be explored to protect the planet and raise self-sufficiency in energy needs. (Photo Credit: )=0=

Palawan wildlife faces near extinction

September 14, 2008

In the illegal bird trade, each of them have a measly price tag between P2,000 and P5,000 ($50-120) and the white feathered Philippine cockatoos are ravenously hunted and have become critically endangered. Victims of bird fanciers who seek them for their astonishing beauty, the birds are losing habitat due to forest destruction in Palawan, Philippines.

The talking black mynah (Gracula religiosa ssp. palawanensis,) the blue-headed parrot with flaming red beak and bright green plummage (Thanygnathus lucionensis,) and the cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygi,) a helmet-crested white psittacine wonder with a flamboyant red undertail—all Gods’ irreplaceable gifts to our planet, are being decimated like other threatened avian species worldwide.

Palawan is covered by a special law, Republic Act No. 7611, which categorizes old growth forests and areas above 1,000 meters in elevation as “core zones,” or areas exempt from human development.

There is a mismatch in the protected area systems and the requirements of important species. All threatened species in Palawan live in what had been designated as buffer areas and these are open to exploitation, primarily mining….alluding to dozens of mining applications all over Palawan, particularly in the nickel and chromite-rich southern Palawan….not taking into consideration Palawan’s endangered species. It is easier to secure a mining permit than to request for a permit to conduct scientific expeditions” —Aldrin Mallari, ornithologist (Inquirer, 09/14/08, Anda,A)

Scientists and conservationists warned of the imminent extinction in a three-day conference participated in by an international group of bird-watchers and conservation experts.

Monitoring illegal traffic of birds and wildlife, Katala Foundation, a conservation group, disclosed three groups of wildlife traders in the chrome and nickel-rich island of Palawan where the famous pristine Tubbataha Reef is also located. According to Katala, 13 mammalian species and 11 bird species are critically at risk of being permanently wiped-out because of deforestation, bird captures, and human intrusions which lead to black market sales in Manila and elsewhere.

Without the support of the community and the government, the extinction of these species seems inevitable. Alarmed experts are pessimistic if appropriate legislation without implementation and sluggish wildlife education can ever do enough to preserve and rescue wildlife from danger. Photo Credits: Palawan Council for Sustainable Dev’t; nicky; Borneo@27)=0=