DENR seeks highest protection for Christmas frigatebird

The Philippines, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), proposes the inclusion of Christmas frigatebird on Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, or simply CMS.


Christmas frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) is a large, mostly black seabird with a glossy green sheen to feathers of the head and its back. It is considered the rarest endemic seabird on Christmas Island in Australia.


DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said it is high time for CMS party states to join hands in protecting the critically endangered bird, which is a regular visitor to the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan province.


“It is important for the Philippines and other parties to the CMS to maintain migratory sites as viable habitats, so that this species will continue to come back,” Cimatu said.


Aside from the Christmas frigatebird, the Philippines is also seeking greater protection for the White-spotted wedgefish (Rhychobatus australiae), Whale shark (Rhincodon typus), Yellow bunting (Emberiza sulphurata), and Black noddy (Anous minutus) subspecies worcesteri.


The draft resolutions were submitted by the Philippines for consideration by over 120 nations during the 12th Meeting of Conference of Parties to CMS happening in Manila from October 23 to 28.


Over 150 species of migratory birds annually visit the Philippines. Being part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, migratory birds in their southward migration stop in the rich coastal and marine, inland wetlands and forests to feed and refuel before taking on to their journey further south. 


Meanwhile, Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Theresa Mundita Lim said the Christmas frigatebird is an “essential predator in the ecosystem as it feeds on both vertebrates and invertebrates in coastal areas.” ###

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