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Western Visayas wetlands remain as bird sanctuaries

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By Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY—While many areas have been developed, several wetlands in Western Visayas region still serve as sanctuaries for migratory birds.

Bird migration. (Manila Bulletin)

Bird migration. (Manila Bulletin)

“Our region still has a rich biodiversity, which serves as important feeding grounds and ideal resting places for migratory birds,” explained Jim Sampulna, regional director of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-6).

Data from DENR-6’s Conservation and Development Division found that there are 57 existing wetlands for migratory birds in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces.

During the recent World Wetlands Day, DENR-6 pushed for stronger wetland preservation in all six provinces as a means of balancing development while preserving natural habitats.

DENR-6 Information Chief Artemio Colacion noted how the physical development of Iloilo City has lessened the number of existing wetlands. In particular, the district of Mandurriao was reclaimed to pave way for the numerous residential, shopping and entertainment areas. Despite this, four wetlands still exist within city boundaries.

DENR-6 is also urging local governments to integrate wetlands in revised urban plans as they reduce flooding and provide urban green spaces.

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