Seven Philippine Cockatoos freed in Dumaran Island
Seven Philippine Cockatoos (Katala) have been freed in Dumaran Island on January 27.
Seven Philippine Cockatoos or Katala as locally called were released back in the wild in Dumaran Island, Palawan. Five of these birds were rescued from starvation during the El Nino 2016 breeding season on Dumaran Island itself and two were from Puerto Princesa City. The release was witnessed by LGU officials, PCSDS and DENR representatives, PNP-Dumaran, media, and other members of the interim management board of the newly established Critical Habitat on Dumaran Island, Palawan.
“What we do in Dumaran is supplementation of Philippine Cockatoos. We noticed that recruitment of the species is slow in Dumaran probably due to inbreeding or low reproductive abilities of remnant population”, says Peter Widmann, Science Director of the Katala Foundation Inc. He further added that Dumaran is a very special and unique place despite the forests being so fragmented. The newly created Critical Habitat that encompasses the last remaining forest patches in Dumaran Island is home to both critically endangered Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia) and the Palawan Forest Turtle (Siebenrockiella leytensis). Not only that it is also home to equally threatened Palawan Pangolin and the Palawan Hornbill among others. The global population of the Katala is between 640-1,120 and 70-90% of this could be found in Palawan.
According to Indira Lacerna-Widmann, Program Director of the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program, the hatchlings were taken cared of at the Katala Institute in Narra, Palawan where they gained stable health after rescue. Meanwhile, a pre-release aviary was built on site for the birds’ flight practice and acclimatization before its eventual release. At the pre-release aviary for six months, birds were practicing flight muscles, were introduced to local natural foods and had an anti-predator training. Each bird was tested negative of PBFD virus and sex were determined before its release. Wildlife wardens took turns to monitor the birds inside and outside the aviary with emphasis of not imprinting on humans.
“The LGU has been grateful and supportive of its joint efforts with the Katala Foundation Inc. in bringing back the Katala to Dumaran but more importantly in protecting and restoring the lost lowland forests therein”, says Mr. Arnel Caabay, Administrative Officer of Dumaran. Mr. Caabay added that the recent adoption of the Municipal Council of the PCSD Resolution No. 14-513 declaring 1,628 hectares as Critical Habitat is their commitment to restore forest cover in Dumaran not only for the wildlife in need but also to ensure its water supply in the island which is now dwindling.
The Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program (PCCP) aims to downlist the status of the species to endangered from critically endangered through conserving the most viable populations and its habitat. Thanks to the long-term commitments and financial support from the Loro Parque Fundacion (Spain), Chester Zoo (UK), Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten- und Populationsschutz (ZGAP, incl. Fonds für Bedrohte Papageien and Strunden-Papageien-Stiftung) (Germany) and Zoo Beauval (France).
For more information, please contact Indira Widmann, Katala Foundation, P.O. Box 390, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan or at email@example.com and visit our homepage at www.philippinecockatoo.org.