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Birds vanishing in the Philippines

January 28, 2011 Comments off

By Cecil Morella (AFP)

CANDABA, Philippines — The number of birds flying south to important wintering grounds in the Philippines has fallen sharply this year, with experts saying the dramatic demise of wetlands and hunting are to blame.

Despite some harsh, cold weather across the Eurasian landmass, some waterbirds that usually migrate in huge flocks to the tropical islands have been completely absent, said Philippine-based Danish ornithologist Arne Jensen.

“The flyway populations of several waterbird species are in constant and dramatic decline,” Jensen, who advises the Philippine government on species conservation, told AFP.

“Hence the urgent need to establish real and well-managed, hunting-free waterbird sanctuaries along the migratory flyways.”

Candaba, a swamp two hours’ drive north of Manila that has long been used as a pit stop by hundreds of species as they fly staggering distances between the Arctic Circle and Australia, appears emblematic of the downfall.

Jensen said that bird watchers routinely counted 100,000 ducks at Candaba in the 1980s as they stopped there for a rest while traversing the East Asian-Australasian flyway.

But volunteers recorded just Read more…