By Tara Yap
Iloilo City —The population of five endangered species in Panay Island got a boost from a project funded by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).
The second phase of Forest and Climate Protection Project (ForClim-II) increased the population of Visayan Spotted Deer, Visayan Warty Pig, Panay Monitor Lizard, Visayan Writhed-Billed Hornbill, and Rafflesia Speciosa flora by 18.5 percent.
Jim Sampulna, Western Visayas regional director of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), said the preservation of endangered species is one of the key accomplishments for the three-year project that will end next month.
DENR-6’s Conservation and Development Division was previously alarmed by the dwindling fauna and flora in the forest lands of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo provinces.
Fred Canto, DENR-6’s ForClim focal person, told Manila Bulletin that ForClim-II was able to strengthen the implementation of Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.
With 727 wildlife enforcement officers scattered all over Panay, Canto noted that illegal hunting and trading of endemic species were reduced.
Dr. Jürgen Schade, GIZ chief advisor, noted that locals are less likely to commit illegal hunting or trading after being warned that they could be imprisoned or be made to pay heavy penalties.
“There’s an educational effect,” Schade added.