TACLOBAN CITY- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR) in the region has stepped up its drive in the protection of the foreign and resident ducks at the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park (MVNP), including their habitat in the boundaries of the municipalities of Burauen, La Paz and McArthur, all in Leyte.
Dr. Eugenia Bautista, DENR-8’s chief Conservation and Development Division (CDD), told Leyte Samar Daily Express that her office is closely monitoring the increase in the number of the foreign ducks in the MVNP which are the wandering whistling ducks (Dendrocygna arcuata).
Bautista said that these foreign ducks just live along with the endemic or native Philippine ducks (Anas luzonica) otherwise known as the Philippine mallard ducks and other birds at the national park.
Bautista said that the field personnel of the DENR-8 have been observing the increase of these foreign ducks from less than 1,000 in the 2014 to almost double last year.
Most of these foreign ducks mostly came from Australia, Indonesia, Pacific Islands and the nearby countries in the Pacific areas.
She also said that most of these wandering whistling ducks are now considered “resident foreign ducks” as they have found a new “home” in the two lakes of the park which are the Mahagnao and Malagsum Lakes.
She clarified that these new “settlers” may in the future return back to their place of origin if they will be disturbed, hunted for food or their habitat in the park will be destroyed.
Bautista pointed out that the MVNP should be protected including all its inhabitants, to include the migratory birds.
She said that these foreign ducks are added attraction for the tourists and bird watchers who are visiting the park.
Meantime, Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, in a separate interview, said that his office and the local government units of the municipalities of Burauen, La Paz and MacArthur are also extending assistance for the preservation and protection of the MVNP.
The governor said that the attractive environmental conditions of the park makes it as one of the major tourist spots that the province could be proud of.
He added that his office has also noted increasing numbers of both local and foreign tourists visiting MVNP yearly.
The MVNP is one of the protected areas of the DENR under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).
It has an elevation of 1,200 meters above sea level and an area of 635 hectares, within the boundaries of Burauen, La Paz and McArthur towns.