The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) has observed an increase in the number of turnover and voluntary surrender of wildlife species from July to August despite residents’ lack of awareness regarding their conservation status.
Jovic Fabello, spokesperson of the PCSDS, said Saturday that the number of animals handed over to them in July was seven, and six in August.
They include Asian leaf turtles (Cyclemys dentata), Southeast Asian box turtles (Cuora amboinensis), reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus), blue-naped parrot (Tanygnathus lucionensis), Philippine coucal (Centropus verdis), crested goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus), variable monitor lizard (Varanus palawanensis), a wounded Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia) surrendered by Bancao-Bancao barangay councilors, and Pandi, the Palawan pangolin (Manis culionensis) discovered wandering in August in the affluent Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City.
Their rescues, he added, were 10 in July and a reticulated python in August seized from a local motor and machine shop owner in Barangay San Manuel, Puerto Princesa City.
The figure includes a sub-adult saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), a green sea turtle, a Philippine monkey, and some Philippine hill mynah birds.
“This means the PCSDS tri-media awareness campaign on wildlife conservation is gaining ground, plus the effect of COVID-19 on people’s mobility–activities of the people are somehow limited and restrained,” Fabello said.
Fabello said since they started their campaign in 2012, the turnover of animals is due to apprehensions. But these days, the rate has increased despite residents not knowing their conservation status.
He said awareness about the animals’ conservation status is key to understanding the roles they play in the ecosystem and their functions that can support the ecology and the livelihood of residents.
“Later, people started to surrender or turnover wildlife species to the PCSDS. The rate gradually increased from 2017–early part of 2019. In the latter part of 2019 until now, turn overs started to increase two-folds,” he said.
“Although marami pa din sa ating mga kababayan ang hindi nakakaalam ng classification or conservation status ng wildlife, specifically ahas, sawa, or cobra, which are already classified as endangered species, at least the awareness and importance of conserving ay naiisip na nila,” Fabello added.
Fabello urged residents to avoid hurting them if they are spotted in their neighborhood.
He said a Philippine cockatoo turned over to them recently from Barangay Bancao-Bancao broke its feather allegedly because it was hit with a stone from a slingshot or a “tirador” by little boys.
“Yong wounded katala ay nakita sa Bancao-Bancao ng isang kagawag ng barangay, agad na ini-report sa amin. Tinirador daw ito ng mga bata sa area kaya nabali ang pakpak,” he said.
“Isama sana nila sa kampanya [sa barangay] ang tamang pangangalaga ng wildlife,” he added.