Alumni Protests Wildlife Hunting in UP Diliman
There’s a post that has been going viral on Facebook. University of the Philippines (UP) alumni Lu-Ann Fuentes-Bajarias and husband, Amado, witnessed a group of men killing a Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis) at the UP Diliman Lagoon. The couple, both bird-watching enthusiasts, identified it as the Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis), a type of bird rarely seen in campus. In their posts, they expressed their concern over the lack of protection for wildlife in the campus, pointing out that the campus is one of the last dwindling green spaces left in Metro Manila. They believe that the campus should enforce a “No hunting ” policy, and preserve it as a sanctuary for wildlife.
Here’s the story by Lu-Ann:
The U.P. Diliman Lagoon is normally a source of delight for Amado and me, as we fumble to take pictures of kingfishers, parrots, waterhens and more there. We like that it’s not always easy; wildlife needs to stay wild for their sake. Today at 2pm, however, we were horrified to witness a killing. Three men had been combing the area, collecting crabs, fish, and what they might consider edible. We saw one of the men violently hit something in the water. The sound traveled enough for us to go running, expecting the worst. They held up in pride the elusive Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis) of U.P. Diliman. Lifeless. Plucked like it was theirs for the taking. Mads tells me that this is an extremely difficult species to find in the campus (status: uncommon) and it was killed just like that. This isn’t a witchhunt. This isn’t about running after the men. Clearly, the men did not feel they were breaking any law. This is an appeal for clarity on what is allowed. If there was an uproar months back on the cutting of sunflowers along the University Avenue, surely, we can’t only be a handful feeling this strongly about enforcing No Hunting within campus? We talk enough about campuses being among the city’s dwindling green spaces, and how these have become “avian sanctuaries” (regardless of whether this is on paper or not). We need to respect birdlife, wildlife, life. And we just happened to be there. If you find yourselves in the same situation, will you please flag a U.P. authority? And, if you feel safe about doing so, take a picture. As the men waded into the lagoon, we feared for the White-breasted Waterhen and its chicks (which we haven’t seen in a while). Our guess is that they’ve been taken much earlier. I am not ashamed to say that I cried in the car.
Lu-Ann and I saw a group of men kill a Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis) in U.P. Diliman earlier today. Really senseless act of violence. This species is uncommon in the Philippines and extremely rare in the campus (the last documented sighting in the campus that I know of was in 2008). It should be a source of pride for U.P. Diliman that there’s a Black Bittern in its grounds! We reported the killing and showed the photos to two guards. I really hope U.P.’s guards understand that the place is a sanctuary for wildlife, and understand the concept of respecting wildlife. I hope the U.P. leadership does something to protect more effectively the wildlife that seek shelter in its grounds. What a waste of life.
Both Lu-Ann and Amado are founding members of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. They took the photos featured in this post.