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Negros-Panay bridge threat to endangered dolphins – study


By Mark L. Garcia

Bacolod City – An academic research center here warns that building the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge will threaten the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins, as the construction will cut through its core habitat at the Guimaras Strait near Pulupandan town in Negros Occidental.

The University of Saint La Salle-University Research Center (USLSU-RC) said in a press release that Irrawady Dolphins (Orcaellabrevirostris) will be facing potential negative impact from the plan to construct the bridge as it is expected to cut through the dolphin’s core habitat in the coastal waters of Pulupandan.

These dolphins are known to reside in the coastal waters of Bago City and Pulupandan and were declared as a protected marine area in the latter through the partnerships of these academic institutions and the local government of Bago, it said.

Pulipandan and Bago City are local government units next to Bacolod going south of Negros Occidental.

Mark de la Paz, URC research associate said Sunday that the eyed construction is one of the threats faced by these dolphins declared as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) December last year.

“Among the threats to these dolphins are pollution from industrial firms, entanglement on fishing nets, boat strikes, and habitat destructions,” he said, as the press release said that the recent population of these dolphins is more or less 20.

The press release said that this number came from a recent study of the scientists from USLS and Silliman University.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar earlier said that preparatory work for the 19-kilometer Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge will begin this year, and would cost $2 million. Once completed, it will be the longest bridge in the country, he added.

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