Organizers of Philippine bird festival hope to raise conservation awareness

CCTV News

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Bird lovers from around the world hope to encourage young Filipinos to take part in conservation efforts at the 10th Philippine Bird Festival. CCTV’s Barnaby Lo reports from Balanga, Bataan, Philippines.

Organizers of Philippine bird festival hope to raise conservation awareness

Organizers of Philippine bird festival hope to raise conservation awareness

Bird lovers from around the world hope to encourage young Filipinos to take part in conservation efforts at the 10th Philippine Bird Festival. CCTV's Barnaby Lo reports from Balanga, Bataan, Philippines.

Birdwatchers have gathered here from around the world, many of them from China, where the biggest Asian bird festival to be held next year. Despite its name there are no real birds on display. Organizers say this isn’t a bird show. Participants were taken instead to bird habitats nearby – to wetlands and ponds.

The Philippines has one of the most diverse bird populations in the world. There are around 600 different species of birds in the Philippines and about 200 are endemic to the country, meaning they can only be found in the Philippines. Nearly 100 of those species are endangered.

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“One of the biggest messages we say to everybody here is that a bird belongs in the wild. A bird serves its ecological purpose in the wild. If it’s in a cage, it is sterile. It doesn’t do anything. It just sits in its cage eating food all day. It’s even silent. Many times birds don’t even sing in their cages,” Gina Mapua, president of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, said.

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One endangered bird is the Philippine eagle, which continues to be hunted despite a strong government-led conservation program. It has become the symbol of the country’s endangered bird wildlife. Other birds in danger include the green racquet-tail, a parrot that can only be seen regularly in forests not far from the venue of the bird festival.