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Monday, March 4, 2024

DENR plans to transform wildlife facility

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it is planning to transform the National Wildlife Rescue and Research Center (NWRRC) into a world-class facility to protect and rehabilitate the country’s wildlife resources.

The move is in line with the DENR’s thrust to enhance biodiversity conservation, the department said.

“We will enhance, upgrade and redesign the NWRRC so it can be brought up to global standards,” said DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga.

Loyzaga added that the DENR will form an advisory group of biodiversity experts for the enhancement of NWRRC as part of an overall program to boost the country’s capacity to conserve and protect wildlife species and their habitats, and to fight illegal wildlife trade and other wildlife crimes.

Other plans include mobilizing over 200 Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Units in 36 airports and 131 seaports and training over 700 Wildlife Enforcement Officers.

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“This is very important because the Philippines is one of the mega biodiverse countries in the world. We are a hotspot, and therefore, we must make very good use of our protection and enhancement capabilities in order to stop illegal wildlife trade and all other wildlife crimes.”

According to the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), the Philippines is considered an illegal wildlife trade hub and a source country of wildlife and wildlife byproducts such as pangolins and marine turtles, and as destination of trades such as parrots kept as pets.

In 2020, the NWRRC received new ultrasound and X-ray machines that will help the center’s veterinarians and staff diagnose diseases, injuries, and conditions of wildlife and exotic animals in their care. The equipment was donated by the United States Agency for International Development, under its Project Wildlife project in the Philippines.

Located within the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center, the NWRRC is under the management and administration of the DENR’s BMB. The center has been instrumental in retrieving, rescuing and providing shelter to abandoned wildlife and exotic animals; as well as those illegally trafficked and traded. Its mandate includes the care and rehabilitation of rescued wildlife species that often arrive stressed, traumatized, sick or injured.

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