TACLOBAN CITY – A rare Philippine cockatoo was recently sighted in Homonhon Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
Forester Virginio Cugtas said the cockatoo’s presence on the island is only the third confirmed location in the country aside from Palawan and Mindoro.
“The sighting of the critically endangered Philippine cockatoo in the Island of Homonhon underscores the need to protect its natural habitat from further destruction,” said Cugtas.
Cugtas was the designated team leader of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that monitored and verified the presence of the Philippine cockatoo on the island.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the Philippine cockatoo or the Red-vented cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia) as critically endangered as its population declined between 60 to 80 percent from 1980 to the present.
A recent estimate by the Katala Foundation suggests that only 1,000 of them are left in the wild with 70 to 75 percent found in Rasa Island, Palawan.
Its decline can be attributed to poaching because of its high demand among collectors and the destruction of their habitats which are the mangrove and forest trees as well as the conversion of lowland forests to agriculture, mining, and human settlement.
The Katala Foundation has been running a conservation program in Palawan Faunal Region since 1982. Around 180 of the birds are found in wilderness conservation in the municipality of Narra and Puerto Princesa, Palawan, particularly in Rasa Island.
A captive population is bred by in Birds International located in Fairview, Quezon City.