Davao City – Following the discovery of an injured warty pig in Mt. Apo that went viral online, various sectors are triggered to act aggressively to preserve the wildlife in the country’s natural park.

Last June 21, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) spearheaded the multi-sectoral technical meeting for the creation of Mt. Apo Wildlife Conservation Center. The proposed center is envisioned to become a sanctuary dedicated to preserving Mt. Apo’s wildlife through conservation, education, research and quality animal care.

Dr. Jayson Ibañez, Philippine Eagle Foundation Director said the creation the center is significant as it would also trigger the conservation of other wildlife especially animals found within Philippine Eagle territory. Ibañez explained that warty pigs recently discovered in Mt. Apo are considered as forest enginners.

“Yung mga wallowing pits nila, yung mga mud holes that they create, this also provides habitat for other wildlife.” Ibañez further discussed.

Mount Apo is a national park established in 1936 and has long been the home of the rare Philippine eagle and 271 other species of birds. It is also the dwelling place various endemic animals including bats, civet cats, deer, rats, and squirrels.

Local tourism offices from LGU’s surrounding Mt. Apo will also play a vital role in this endeavor especially in ensuring that trekkers, mountaineers, including local residents are aware of their responsibilities upon climbing.

“Napakalaking tulong ng conservation facility para mas mabigyan pa natin ng impormasyon an gating mga trekkers to respect, protect our wildlife,” Gillan Lonzaga, Kidapawan City Tourism Officer said.

Joey Recimilla, Program Planning and Policy Development Office Director of Mindanao Development Authority urged local government units and partner agencies to work together to come up with holistic effort in ensuring the existing wildlife are preserved and protected.

“This is an inter-regional concern, both Region 11 and 12. So we have to work this out, come up with the framework and work from there,” Recimilla added.

Results of the meeting will be used as basis for the creation of policies and programs of operation in collaboration with MinDA, LGUs, DENR, Philippine Eagle Foundation, and private partners like Aboitiz and Energy Development Corporation.

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