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PH seeks protection for endangered seabird species in Tubbataha Reefs

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By Betheena Unite

The Philippines is seeking to include Black noddy (Anous minutus) subspecies worcesteri, an endangered seabird species, in the Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) to ensure its protection.

Roy Cimatu gestures during his confirmation hearing in Pasay city, October 4,2017. (Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)

Roy Cimatu gestures during his confirmation hearing in Pasay city, October 4,2017.
(Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a draft resolution submitted by the country to the CMS secretariat, it sought the approval of more than 120 nations attending the 12th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the CMS to be held in Manila from October 23 to 28.

Black noddy is a kind of seabird that breeds only in two islets in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park off Palawan province.

The inclusion of the endangered species in the in Appendix II will put the Black noddy in the category of migratory species that have unfavorable conservation status and require international agreements for their conservation and management.

“The inclusion of these migratory species in Appendix II of CMS is necessary to ensure their protection not only by the Philippines, which play host to these species, but also in other countries that they visit,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said.

Cimatu further called on CMS party nations to approve the country’s draft resolution on the Black noddy and three other migratory species being sought to be included in the Appendix II.

Aside from the Black noddy, the country is seeking for the inclusion in Appendix II of the White-spotted wedgefish (Rhychobatus australiae), Christmas Island frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi), and Yellow Bunting (Emberiza sulphurata).

The Black noddy is a seabird from the tern family, characterized as small and with darker plumage, a white cap, a long straight beak and short tail, the environment agency said.

Meanwhile the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), a staff bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), mandated to protect the country’s wild species and their habitats, cited the importance of Black noddy in the ecosystem.

According to BMB director Theresa Mundita Lim, “the guano or excrement of the Black noddies produces large quantities of nutrients to the soil, which is of great importance to the plant communities on the two breeding islets.”

“This again contributes to protecting the islets from velocity of waves and reduces impacts from storms and sea-level rise,” Lim said.

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