DENR wraps up Asian Waterbird Census 2022, urges public to protect environment

To provide healthy wetlands for migratory birds, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has urged the public to maintain a clean environment as it concluded the Asian Waterbird Census 2022 recently.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu (File photo)

"Filipinos should be more conscientious about the impact of migratory birds on the environment. Maintaining the ecological integrity and abundance of our coastal areas, offshore habitats, and inland wetlands are crucial for bird migration and beneficial to people," DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in a statement on Jan. 27.

The annual waterbird count is held every second or third week of January. It is part of the International Waterbird Census, a global waterbird monitoring program coordinated by Wetlands International.

According to Cimatu, a total of 300,000 to 500,000 waterbirds have been recorded in over 150 wetland areas across the country in the last five years.

Likewise, Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Natividad Bernardino emphasized the importance of a well-kept environment. She said that the capacity of migrating birds to complete their migration cycle depends on intact and functional wetlands.

"These migratory waterbirds rely on healthy wetlands which serve as their staging site or temporary stop-over to rest and feed to build up sufficient energy for the next phase of their journey down south and back to their breeding ground in the northern hemisphere," Bernardino said.

"The results of the Asian Waterbird Census help us identify wetland sites for priority protection and management and set aside wetlands of national and international importance," she added.