This photograph of a hunter holding up a dead Rufous Hornbill in Ilocos Norte has ruffled the feathers of local conservationists. The hornbill, also known as “kalaw,” is endemic to the Philippines and is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as a “near threatened” species. Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

Philippines: Photo of hunter with dead hornbill sparks online outrage
By Rose-An Jessica Dioquino, 7th April 2014;

A photo of a man holding up a dead hornbill he shot has sparked online outrage about the frequent killings of threatened and endangered birds in the country.

The image, posted on the Wild Bird Club Philippines (WBCP) Facebook page on March 31, shows the hunter holding up the bird by its claws, the rifle that he used to shoot it slung across his body.

According to WBCP president Mike Lu, who shared the photo, it was taken by his friends who “went birdwatching” in Adams, Ilocos Norte and “were thrilled to see a family of Rufous Hornbills (Buceros hydrocorax).”

The hornbill in the photo was “juvenile (bill is not red yet),” he added in the caption.

As of this posting, the photo has been shared 1,074 times on the social networking site.

The following day, the WBCP said: “Our contact confirmed that the hunter…is the son-in-law of the vice mayor and that his father is a councilor! … His father is pleading to give his son a second chance.”

A separate report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer on April 4 identified the man in the photograph as Mikel Dato, son of town councilor Julian Dato and the son-in-law of Adams vice mayor Wagner Poking.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) sent a team to look into the matter, the report added, though a formal complaint has yet to be filed.

The Rufous Hornbill is endemic to the Philippines and known locally as “kalaw”. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists it as a “near threatened” species, “as it is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly throughout its range as a result of habitat loss and persecution by hunters and trappers.”

In an interview with GMA News Online, Lu said the birdwatchers, including two foreigners, were asked by the DENR to submit an affidavit on the incident, to be used in filing the complaint.

The WBCP met with the Biodiversity Management Bureau (formerly the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau) last week to discuss the incident, as well as ways to further the government’s information campaign on wildlife matters, Lu added.

In November last year, the daughter of former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson posted pictures of herself and her father with wild ducks (Philippine Duck) (Anas luzonica) they had shot, saying in a post that they had gone hunting “somewhere in Ilocos.” The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines decried the Singsons’ actions, saying that wild duck hunting is illegal in the Philippines. Singson’s daughter, Richelle Singson-Michael, later claimed that the photos were “not taken in the Philippines.”

In an administrative order late last year, the DENR declared a dipterocarp forest in Adams “a critical habitat for wildlife species.”.

Source: GMA News Online

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) took this photograph of an Adams town bird hunter displaying a dead hornbill in Ilocos Norte which enraged bird advocates when it was posted online. WBCP FACEBOOK PAGE

Philippines: DENR probes bird hunting in Ilocos Norte
By Leilanie Adriano, 4th April 2014;

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is looking into reports of illegal bird hunting in Adams town in Ilocos Norte, an emerging ecotourism destination recently declared as the “last frontier of dipterocarp forest.”

A team was sent to Adams on Wednesday by the DENR’s community environment and natural resources office of neighboring Bangui town following the online outrage over a local hunter who displayed a dead juvenile Rufous Hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax) he allegedly shot with an air gun.

The hunter’s photograph was taken by members of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) who were visiting the area. The photo was posted on a social networking site on Monday.

The man in the photograph was later identified as Mikel Dato, son of town councilor Julian Dato and the son-in-law of Adams Vice Mayor Wagner Poking.

On Tuesday, Dato’s parents met with Insp. Clemente Ceralde, acting Adams police chief, to apologize for the incident. “Our son [who is in his mid-20s] feels sorry about it. We already talked to him and advised him not to do it anymore,” the parents said.

But police said charges of illegal hunting may be filed against the young Dato once a formal complaint is filed.

“It’s sad to see these things happening in a place that is gearing for ecotourism,” said Mike Lu of WBCP. He said his friends took Dato’s photographs and posted these online.

The online photographs had drawn rebukes in online commentaries since Monday, including criticisms of local government officials for not acting quickly to curb bird poaching in Adams.

The photos also documented evidence that slash and burn farming was rampant in the area.

Ceralde said a campaign must be launched to educate more people about environment laws and those on wildlife conservation and protection.

Under a DENR administrative order, the Adams wildlife habitat protects and conserves Ilocos Norte’s “last frontier of dipterocarp forest.” Dipterocarp refers to a family of hardwood, including mahogany.

Source: Philipine Daily Inquirer

Rufous Hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax) – better dead or alive ?

My friends went birdwatching in Adams (Ilocos Norte) and were thrilled to see a family of Rufous Hornbills. A few minutes later, they encountered a hunter proudly showing off a dead juvenile hornbill (bill is not red yet). My friends showed the photo to the local police, who just shook his head saying the hunter is the son-in-law of the vice mayor. Whether he is a relative or not, it is sad that our countrymen do not realize the role these birds play in the balance of nature. Hornbills eat fruits of forest trees and spread the seeds far and wide, that is why they are called farmers of the forests. Can our authorities do anything ? Should they (we) start an advocacy campaign ? If you care about our environment, if you care about the future of our country, please share this photo to everyone you know – Mike Lu, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

Wild Bird Club of the Philippines Facebook