By Ellalyn de Vera
The recent sighting of a Christmas frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) in the Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) shows that public awareness on the conservation of the endangered species has been yielding positive results.
“The sighting of the endangered seabird is an indicator of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems in ARNP, and that only means that conservation efforts there are bearing fruit and the people in charge of protecting the area are doing a good job,” Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said.
Located off the town of Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro province, ARNP is the largest reef in the country and the second largest contiguous coral reef on the planet. It is nestled within the Coral Triangle, which is the epicenter of the world’s marine biodiversity and a global priority for conservation.
Last June 25, a Christmas frigatebird was sighted in ARNP and the sighting was documented by the protected area office and the Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. (MBCI). It was the third sighting of the seabird “outside the Sulu Sea,” where the fowl is frequently sighted.
The sighting of the bird species was first recorded in Tawi-Tawi province in 1995. Since then, more than 150 sightings of the species in Sulu Sea were recorded.