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PIA Press Release

DENR keeps watch on Davao's bird hotspots

Davao City (8 November) -- The Protected Areas and Wildlife Division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is keeping its watch on migratory bird hotspots, three of which are identified to be located here in Region XI.

According to PAWD chief Leonilo Rivera on his briefing during the Avian Flu Task Force press conference held at the Apo View Hotel last November 6. The three hotspots are located in Banaybanay coastline in Davao Oriental, in Barangay La Paz in Carmen Davao del Norte and in Malalag Bay which covers the municipalities of Malalag, Sulop and Santa Maria in Davao del Sur.

According to Rivera there also about 55 migratory bird hotspots in the country among which are the famed Olango bird island in Cebu and in the Candaba swamps in Central Luzon.

Migratory birds also known as continental lappers since their flights overlap continents are known vectors of the dreaded H5N1 Avian flu virus. The country has been trying to watch these wildfowl to prevent the spread of the virus to the country.

According to Rivera, the action plan of the multi-sectoral Avian Influenza task force which are led by the DENR, Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Heath (DOH) is to communicate awareness to the public about the Avian Flu.

Among its programs is to produce IEC (Information, Education, Communication ) materials which would be distributed to the barangay level. They would also talk to those people living in the wetland areas. The task force is also coordinating to customs officials about regulating the entry of poultry and other fowl from other countries. They would also brief the owners of poultry farms especially on proper vigilance.

The Task Force has been engaged in a campaign dubbed as Bantay Ibon: Iwas Bird Flu tayo. Rivera believes that public vigilance is an essential tool in controlling the entry and spread of bird flu. "Even if it is not yet here, we must prepare for it" Rivera said. (PIA/RG Alama) [top]

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