November is climate change awareness month

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here laid out its plans for building a more climate-resilient Central Luzon in line with the annual observance of the National Climate Change consciousness week this November 19-24, 2017, environment authorities said yesterday.

Francisco Milla, Jr., regional director of the DENR in Central Luzon said that November is a month not just to remember our departed loved ones during all souls day, but it is also a triple environmental celebration on Clean Air, National Environmental Awareness and Climate Change Consciousness.

“The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Our vulnerability needs to be addressed and we need to adapt to the changing climate through a development perspective. This means increasing climate resiliency at the grassroots level - through environmental education,” he said

He said that adaptation to climate change is one of the priority programs of environment secretary Roy Cimatu. During the secretary’s last visit to Central Luzon, he reiterated the need to strengthen the DENR as an organization to handle the different environmental issues being faced by the country, including climate change.

According to Donaver Guevarra, public affairs chief, the DENR has set a community and youth environmental education activity this month to keep the public aware of the effects of climate change and help reduce its impacts to human beings and to the environment as a whole. 

“We must educate the public on climate change, especially the youth. Understanding this environmental threat is important so that they can cope up and adapt to the changing climate and at the same time motivate them to help the government in addressing this global issue”, he explained.

He said the DENR will also launch on the third week of November K5 program or Kilos sa Klima at Kalamidad Tungo sa Kaligtasan at Kaunlaran in a climate change vulnerable community in Pampanga to increase their knowledge on environmental issues, including global warming and climate change, solid waste management, and prepare them during disaster and extreme weather events.

“K5 aims to educate people. This is our first step to achieve both economic progress and climate-resilient community,” he added.

This year climate change consciousness theme is “Kilos para sa Kalikasan: Building climate-resilient Philippines underscores the need to act together to save the environment and embrace a climate resilient ecological and environmental practices.

Proclamation 1109 issued in 1997 declared November as ‘Clean Air Month through National Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Consciousness’ to create awareness among motorists on the importance and benefits of vehicle maintenance. 

On the other hand, Republic Act 9512 or the National Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008, declared the same month as ‘Environmental Awareness Month.’ This law called for the integration of environmental education in school curricula.

News

June 4 to 10 of every year is Philippine Eagle Week

AGAWID: THE UNTOLD STORY

Sighting for the birds of prey

For decade wildlife experts and biologists of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Central Luzon have been monitoring the vast and diverse mountain ranges of Sierra Madre in the portion of Nueva Ecija and Aurora to confirm the presence of Philippine Eagle. Wildlife officers have been tracking down this birds of prey and were unfortunate to confirm its existence in the area.

In 2000, local communities have observed this raptor flying in the clear sky, probably hunting for its food. But they are unsure of its true identity. However, this sighting further gave hope to conservationists to continue its quest in probing the existence of Philippine eagle in the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre.

According to literature, Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) is the world's largest eagle. Sadly, it is also one of the endangered species in the country. Standing at three feet tall and with a wingspan of seven feet, it is no doubt that the Philippine eagle is truly king among the great birds of prey.

The Philippine eagle can live to between 30 and 60 years of age. It feeds mainly on flying lemurs, palm civets and monkeys, hence the alternative common name of 'monkey-eating eagle'. Other prey items include rats, snakes, flying squirrels, birds and bats.

This species is endemic to the Philippines and found on parts of the larger islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao

A rescued raptor

Hope never fails. Sometime on June 2016, an upland farmer found a juvenile eagle trapped in a snare or “silo” that was used in catching monkey inside the Aurora Memorial National Park (AMNP). The wildlife sustained no serious injuries in the ordeal.

The raptor was immediately turned-over to the DENR-Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) based in Dingalan and was transferred to the custody of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) where it was cared for until its release into the wild. It was estimated that the eagle is just three years old.

The bird’s existence finally confirmed the presence of this critically endangered species in the Sierra Madre mountain range, a truly pride of Central Luzon.

Life in captivity

Agawid was placed in custody at the DENR Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon City where the young eagle undergoes treatment and care. Agawid was placed in an eagle dome cage to prevent any human interaction. It was 17 months in captivity.

On May 2017, Agawid was transferred to a hack cage and brought back to a forest area in the national park of Aurora. The eagle undergoes a six month hacking process to ensure his survival and adaptive capacity in the wild.

Return to the wild

After more than a year of captivity, the young female Philippine eagle was released into the wild on October 4, 2017 in the forests area of AMNP. The released was historic and symbolic as it coincides with the confirmation of Secretary Roy. A Cimatu.

The spectacular eagle weighs approximately 5.31 kilograms just before its release. The eagle was named “Agawid,” an Ilocano word meaning “go home”. The eagle was able to return successfully to its natural habitat. It has been fitted with harnessed with radio transmitter to help DENR authorities monitor the eagle’s activities.

On April 2018, DENR Aurora and BMB conducted a re-trapping and monitoring of the young Agawid to check its health condition.

Today, Agawid is learning to hunt and survive in the wild. There are times that the young eagle return back to the community to hunt pets and other domesticated animal as an easy prey.

Portion of AMNP along the highway in Barangay Villa Maria in Maria Aurora town has been a favorite spot for many tourists as they enjoy a closer look of Agawid alights in the tree tops of tall dipterocarp trees in search for prey.

Agawid is being closely monitored to protect against illegal hunters and poachers. The eagle is a true symbol of the Filipino and crown jewel of Philippine biodiversity.

Let us protect Agawid and its habitat.

It is our country’s national bird, a beacon of hope and barometer of our ecosystem.

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