More than 200 people, mostly environmentalists, celebrated the Earth Day with a whole day coastal clean-up at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) last April 20, 2013.
The coastal clean-up, led by Save Freedom Island Movement (SFIM), Earth Island Institute (EII) and partner organizations, served as a kick-off for a series of activities including photo and art contests, culinary competitions, bird lecture series, nature walk, essay writing, and other activities for the youth running up to the Ocean Month and International Fishermen’s Day in June.
According to SFIM & EII, the campaign seeks to promote awareness and appreciation of the environment as well as a demonstration of protection and restoration activities. The campaign is aimed to inspire people to clean up their surroundings and to sound the alarm regarding worsening environmental depletion, the group said.
The Importance of Freedom Island
The Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), also known as Freedom Island, is a bird sanctuary in an urban setting that was recently added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. It is said to be the last mangrove area in the National Capital Region (NCR) and has recently become controversial due to a widely-opposed P14 billion reclamation plan.
Groups say this will endanger its biodiversity and will spell peril for the livelihood of local fisherfolks depending on its rich marine resources.
The mangrove ecosystem serves as a feeding, nesting and nursery grounds for commercially important fish, prawns, mollusks, crabs and shellfish. High levels of organic matter found in the mangrove ecosystem means high productivity; this means more diverse range of living species can be supported.
It also functions as a habitat area for a wide array of organisms from planktons to birds. About more than 80 species of endemic and migratory birds were documented by the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) and DENR-NCR in the area. The list includes the already vulnerable Philippine Duck, Chinese Egret and the Pied Avocet.
Mangroves are said to be the Earth's “natural filtering system,” that absorbs pollutants like heavy metals, sewage drains, and toxic substances; stabilizes coastlines by catching sediments washed downstream; and help protect coral reefs and sea grasses from being smothered by such pollutants. It also forms a natural barrier, which protects the shore from sea surges especially during typhoons, and absorbs carbon dioxide that lessens the impact of global warming.
However, mangrove forests in Metro Manila were diminished years ago by massive reclamation projects. Threats of reclamation, relentless dumping of wastes and pollution continue to remain.
A continuing battle for Freedom Island and children
The inclusion of Freedom Island to the RAMSAR list is a small victory for environmental groups and concerned citizens calling for the protection of the critical animal habitat.
“But the battle isn’t over yet. Proponents of the reclamation projects in Manila Bay are still pushing for their plan. While the government is more concerned of the profit that foreign investors would generate, thousands of families would be affected by loss of livelihood and shelter, floods, storm surges, and other environmental disasters that reclamations may cause,” says Glacy Macabale of Save Freedom Island Movement.
To demonstrate the saying “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, but borrow it from our children,” a group of children from the Bulungan Market community of Paranaque wore “environmental head gears” and performed an Earth dance to jumpstart the program.
“We live in very critical times. Our actions to save the environment now will have an impact on how our children will live tomorrow. We all need to act now,” Trixie Concepcion of Earth Island Institute said.
“This action is important as choosing the next leaders in the future. Now that we are in the election period, we must choose the right leaders with good track records on protecting the environment and the people. We are doing our part, the government should also do theirs,” Concepcion added.
Among the personalities and organizations who joined and supported the coastal clean-up event are Ms. Earth Philippines 2013 candidates, actor Raymond Bagatsing, Villar Foundation, Office of Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino, Akap-Bata Partylist, Kabataan Partylist, local fisherfolks from the Unified Marketing Services Cooperative, Stewards of Creation, HBC employees, Young Nacionalistas, Smart Mountaineers, UP Minggan, and volunteers from different environmental groups.
SINGAPORE - The dolphin which died when it was transported from the Philippines to Resorts World Sentosa's Marine Life Park on Nov 22 "succumbed to an acute bacterial infection", the resort said in a blog post yesterday.
Revealing the findings of a final pathology report, the resort said no evidence could be found to pinpoint the source of the infection.
Thorough medical examinations done before the dolphin, called Wen Wen, and others were transported showed that they were all healthy.
Wen Wen, a male dolphin about 10 years old, was one of 11 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins flown from Subic Bay in a three-hour flight.
Less than an hour before the plane landed in Singapore, it "died suddenly", said a Marine Life Park spokesman that day.
Another batch of 14 dolphins had arrived here on Nov 19.
The Agri-food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore gave approval for the 24 dolphins to be released from quarantine on Dec 24.
Resorts World Sentosa added yesterday that "based on the close observation and medical status of our dolphins, and the successful completion of the quarantine assessment, we believe the infection was an isolated incident".
The resort did not reveal a date when the public would be able to see the animals, but said it would be in the "very near future, through progressive stages of introduction".
The dolphins are expected to be part of an interactive programme at Marine Life Park.
Since they were acquired in 2008 and 2009, the wild- caught dolphins have been a source of controversy between the resort and animal-welfare groups, which have called for them to be released back to the wild.
Twenty-seven dolphins were initially acquired, but two died in Langkawi in October 2010, reportedly due to a water-borne bacterial infection.
Mr Louis Ng, executive director of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), said it does not add up how Wen Wen, who was found to be healthy before the flight, got the infection and died in a few hours.
He said Acres is still waiting for the resort to reply to an invitation to a public debate it plans to hold later this month regarding the dolphins.
Tests show dolphin died from bacterial infection: RWS Ng Kai Ling Straits Times 4 Jan 13;
A DOLPHIN that died in transit to Singapore last November was killed by an acute bacterial infection of unknown origin, said Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) on its blog yesterday.
It said the remaining 24 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins bound for its marine attraction had been approved by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) for release from quarantine on Christmas Eve.
Dolphin Wen Wen was among a batch of 11 being flown from the Philippines to Singapore on Nov22, but it died en route. The first 14 had arrived three days earlier.
RWS issued a statement about the death on the same day.
It said on its Marine Life Park blog that the final pathology report indicated the male dolphin, estimated to be 10 years old, a prime age for the species, had succumbed to infection.
"The laboratory tests yielded evidence that infection was bacterial in nature, but there was no evidence of the causative bacteria," said a company spokesman.
The tests were conducted by the University of Illinois' College of Veterinary Medicine in the United States and the AVA in Singapore.
RWS added that there was "no evidence of the origins of the infection", but that all the dolphins had been cleared for export.
They were caught in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, and had been kept at a facility in Subic Bay in the Philippines since 2008 while the Marine Life Park was being constructed.
"Based on close observation and the medical status of our dolphins, and the successful completion of the quarantine assessment, we believe the infection was an isolated incident," RWS said.
Dolphin experts said it would be difficult to ascertain where or how Wen Wen had caught the bacteria, but it is rare for dolphins to die in transit.
Biologist Elizabeth Taylor of the National University of Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute said bacteria can be found everywhere in the environment, but not all lead to sickness or death. She said it was not likely that the dolphin had caught the bug on the plane. "I would think that this company would take the best precautions to keep the animals healthy," she said.
Ms Courtney Vail, the campaigns manager at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said research shows that transporting dolphins produces a change in stress hormone levels similar to what occurs in humans during stressful situations.
"It is well-established that chronic stress can lead to immuno-suppression and susceptibility to disease," she added.
The dolphins are not yet on show at the 8ha Marine Life Park, which opened on Nov 22.
Animal rights groups are calling for the rehabilitation and release of the dolphins back to the wild.
Dolphin 'died of bacterial infection' All animals were healthy prior to move and infection is an isolated incident, says RWS Today Online 4 Jan 13;
SINGAPORE - Wen Wen, the male dolphin that died en route to Resorts World Sentosa's (RWS) Marine Life Park, was killed by an acute bacterial infection, according to results of laboratory tests carried out here and in the United States.
However, the origins of the infection could not be determined, RWS said in a post on the oceanarium's blog yesterday.
"The final pathology report indicates that Wen Wen succumbed to an acute bacterial infection. There was, however, no evidence on the origins of the infection," RWS said.
It concluded that the infection was "an isolated incident" and reiterated that the dolphin, as well as the 24 others transported here in November last year, were given a clean bill of health prior to the flight from the Philippines.
"Medical examinations prior to the transport, including full haematology and chemistry profiles as well as cytology and body examinations, indicated that all animals were healthy prior to the move," RWS said.
"Based on the close observation and medical status of our dolphins, and the successful completion of the quarantine assessment, we believe the infection was an isolated incident."
The dolphin died mid-flight on Nov 22, a day after Marine Life Park was opened to the public.
RWS' acquisitions of 27 dolphins from the Solomon Islands in 2008 and 2009 for its Marine Life Park had stirred some to call for the animals to be rehabilitated into the wild.
The calls intensified when Wen Wen became the third dolphin to have died, after two dolphins died in 2010, also from bacterial infections, while they were in a holding area in Langkawi, Malaysia.
The remaining 24 dolphins could be available for public viewing "in the very near future" after the park said it had received the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore's approval for them to be released from quarantine.
"Our dolphins are healthy and have adjusted well to their new home through the diligent care of our marine mammal staff and veterinary professionals," it said.
"We look forward to letting the dolphins meet the public in the very near future through progressive stages of introduction."
Marine Life Park dolphins released from quarantine Saifulbahri Ismail Channel NewsAsia 3 Jan 13;
SINGAPORE: The dolphins at Resorts World Sentosa's Marine Life Park have been released from quarantine and are expected to meet the public soon.
The park said the 24 dolphins have received the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore's (AVA) approval for their release.
It added the mammals have adjusted well to their new home through the care of its staff and veterinary professionals.
The park looks forward to let the dolphins meet the public through progressive stages of introduction.
It also gave updates on the laboratory tests on the male dolphin that died on the flight to Singapore from the Philippines.
The final pathology report indicated that Wen Wen had succumbed to an acute bacterial infection.
There was, however, no evidence on the origins of the infection.
Medical examinations prior to the transport indicated that all animals were healthy prior to the move.
The park believes the infection was an isolated incident.
Recently, the park attracted controversy for its import of dolphins.
When a person starts to stand for his environment & people or for what is right, he also begins his fight against the decaying system and, thus, becomes the enemy of the wrong...
All issues concerning people, their way of living, the environment, etc. are never apolitical. They are always embedded deeply in the society's politics and economics -- the aftermath of uneven distribution of resources and exploitation of a handful of powerful elites to our natural wealth and people.
The ruling class came into power because they gained control and ownership on a significant portion of our natural resources. They exploit ordinary people to extract more resources for them -- and the more they exploit people and the means of production, the more they extract and destroy nature. Thus, the fight for the environment is also a struggle between social classes.
For us to resolve environmental problems, it is important to understand first and address the root-cause of the problem. Our people's history will clear our path to enlightenment. And for us to be empowered to change the world, it is also important to be in solidarity with the people's legitimate struggles for genuine change.
...Because TRUE ENVIRONMENTALISTS ARE PRO-PEOPLE and STAND FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE.
Environment and animal rights activists plan to file charges against the people responsible for the death of one of the 25 dolphins recently shipped from Ocean Adventure in Subic, Zambales to Singapore.
The worst fears of environmentalists and animal welfare advocates have come true. A dolphin has died on its way to the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) Park in Singapore. Environmentalists say this may only be the beginning.
According to the press release of RWS, Wen-wen, a ten-year old male dolphin suddenly died an hour before reaching Singapore. This, despite the claim of RWS that veterinarians and marine mammal experts accompanied all the animals going to Singapore.
‘Dolphins do not live long in captivity. The entire process of capturing, training and transporting dolphins puts the animals at risk. The issue of the Solomon Island dolphins has proved exactly that—dolphins have died when they were captured, when they were being trained in Langkawi, (Malaysia), and now with their transport to Singapore. These animals are literally dying to entertain us,’ declared Trixie Concepcion of Earth Island Institute.
All 25 animals are subject of an on-going case for the violation of the Wildlife Conservation and Resources Act (RA 9147) filed by Earth Island Institute (EII), the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and CARA Welfare Philippines. Despite ongoing hearings, however, RWS has been transporting the animals to Singapore since 17 November 2012. All 24 dolphins are now in Singapore.
‘In their panic to fly the animals out of the country, RWS with the permits from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) had put the animals at risk, hence the death of this animal Wen-wen,’ said Anna Cabrera, Executive Director for the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).
‘More than this, the act of RWS in transporting the dolphins is a blatant and brazen disrespect for the Philippine justice system. We are filing of charges for contempt of court to all those responsible for the transport of these animals,’ adds Cabrera.
Contempt of court is detailed in Section 4 Rule 71 of the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure for “any improper conduct, tending directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct or to degrade the administration of justice” under Section 3 of the same rule.
“We are sad that the government allowed for this export to happen, says Nancy Cu-Unjieng of the CARA Welfare Philippines, “This can only mean that the Philippines is now allowing for the trade of animals from unsustainable sources. This is neither acceptable nor legal under international and Philippine law. Those responsible must be made accountable.”
Next hearing for the case is on 26 November 2012, Monday, 8:30am at Branch 101 of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
With all the dolphins now in Singapore, the current case filed by EII, PAWS and CARA has become moot and academic but environmentalists and animal welfare groups are intent on filing contempt and administrative charges on all those involved in the transfer of the dolphins.
MANUEL ANTONIO, Costa Rica, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Costa Rica onWednesday passed a blanket ban on shark finning, in which thefins are sliced off sharks, often while they are alive, beforethe fish are thrown...
Philippine Online Chronicles is a weekly online publication which features a new kind of news. POC presents a multiplicity of perspectives in a single article.
Angela Colmenares 's insight:
(Previous: Responsible tourism: The right way to travel)
Being a responsible traveller starts with planning ahead and having the right choices regarding where and how to go based on your objectives.
Here are some easy tips to for responsible travel:
BEFORE TRAVELING: GET PACKED!
G – Go to destinations that are not only spectacular, but also educational and promoting respect to nature and cultural heritage as well.
E – Educate yourself with basic information about the place. Try to look into the site’s history, culture, advisory notices and more information as much as you can. It’s also good to learn a few simple words in the local dialect like “hello,” and “thank you.” Local people could appreciate your efforts to integrate with them.
T – Travel Guides. Travel guides could save your life! It could come handy to avoid getting lost. It contains basic geographical knowledge such as maps, transportation means, popular destinations, etc. You don’t need to buy from a bookstore. You can just Google.
P – Pack Light. It is good to pack everything you think you might need, but please don’t burden yourself with a lot of stuff. Plan what you need to bring depending on your activities and how long you would stay there. Figure out what you are going to wear every day… and please, try to be simple to avoid heavy bag problems.
You may need a medical kit, toiletries, light towel, sun block, extra bag for dirty & wet clothes, drinking tumbler, etc. Don’t forget to bring your I.D., ATM or credit cards, and, of course, enough money! Have a checklist to avoid forgetting things.
If you’re a frequent traveler, there’s a thing called the “art of packing” that might be helpful. It saves bag spaces, avoids ugly bag bulges, and organizes your things so you could easily find them. An ideal bag should have compartments and several pockets. But in case you don’t have that kind of bag, you may use smaller bags or packing cubes bags that suck out the air to compress clothing. You may also improvise by using large Ziplocs or re-used plastic shopping bags to separate your clothes from your other stuffs. Toiletries should be in a separate pouch as well as your medical kit. Put containers with liquids inside a Ziploc plastic bag especially when travelling by plane.
Secure fragile and valuable items like camera, cellular phones and wallets in a pouch or hand-carry bag that you should always bring with you. Mirrors, sunglasses, glass bottles, and other fragile items in the luggage should be protected in cloth wraps or cases. It’s also handy to bring a small padlock to secure your luggage.
A –Avoid bringing plastics and products with wasteful packaging. Prevent yourself from being a trash generator.Don’t bring contrabands to avoid getting into trouble. Also refrain from bringing a lot of gadgets. (Come on! You’re in a vacation to enjoy, in the first place, not play with digital games.)
C – Contact persons and communications. Ensure that there are ways that certain people can contact you in cases of emergencies.Have local contact persons in your destination, especially if you are a stranger in the place.Remember that communication is very important to avoid making your life miserable.
K – Know your itinerary to maximize your stay. It will not only help you plan what to wear or bring, but could also save you from trouble of being left behind the group for knowing what time to leave and where to go. Proper scheduling could also maximize your time in able for you to reach more destinations and meet more people within a limited period of time.
E – Economics. Check the balance of your bank account. Ensure that you have enough money and resources for the travel. Keep extra money in case of emergency.
D – Drive. If you’re driving to point of destination, check if the vehicle is properly conditioned. Ensure spare tires, tools, coolant, fuel, breaks, etc. and make sure that you can operate the vehicle proficiently.
DURING YOUR TRAVEL: TRAVEL WITH YOUR SENSES!
S - SENSITIVITY TO PEOPLE & THEIR CULTURE. Tourists should always remember that they are in a place that is someone else's home. Your destination may be a community of people and other species in the biodiversity. Try your best to make your trip be less invasive and be more favorable to the community. Listening to the locals is the best way to understand and respect their culture, environment and aspirations. Do not take, destroy or vandalize archaeological or biological treasures.
E - ECONOMICS & DIRECT CONTRIBUTION TO LOCAL ECONOMY. Try to spend less. Be also smart on what and whom to buy. Buy local products and services and choose to support locally-owned businesses, community tour operators, and artisans. Through this, you will not only get stuffs for a cheaper price, your money will also go directly to the local community. Try not to be so aggressive when bargaining. Keep in mind the hard labor the producers has put on the product and that the purchases that you make could help them feed their families.
N - NATURE FRIENDLINESS. Do your part to conserve the natural beauty of the place by following designated trails, avoiding impacts on critically sensitive biodiversities, and respecting the natural environment. Remember the saying, “Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, and leave nothing but footprints.”
Also avoid buying products made from threatened natural resources and report poaching and other illegal activities to the local authorities.
S - SAFETY. Always keep safety a priority. It is best to travel with a companion and with a clear sense of direction. Familiarize yourself with the place. Tourists could also be attractive targets for thieves. Do not go alone to lonely and dark places and don’t wear expensive jewelries and accessories. Beware of scams and know where to get help.
E - ENGAGE, EXPLORE AND ENJOY. Engage in people and local culture. Every trip gives unique opportunities to explore new sceneries and culture. Enjoy eating local delicacies, shopping in the local markets, attending to festivals, and trekking the terrain. Travelling is also being in solidarity with the local people.
S - SHARE YOUR RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL. Share responsible travel tips and the awesome experience that you had to your family and friends. Sharing photos could also say more than a thousand words.
To be a responsible tourist, always remember to GET PACKED before travelling and travel with your SENSES!
Angela Colmenares-Sabino is an environmental activist and backpacker.
In a hearing last 8 March 2013, environmental groups and animal welfare organizations pursued contempt charges against Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) as well as the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for allowing the re-export of 25 dolphins last year. One dolphin died enroute to Singapore.
According to the Urgent Manifestation and Motion filed by Earth Island Institute (EII), Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS),CARA Welfare Philippines and concerned individuals last 20 November 2012, “..even before and while the Honorable Court was conducting a hearing on the Motion for Reconsideration on the Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO), the respondents had already flown out 11 dolphins from the country in full defiance of the administration of justice in the Philippines. To make matters worse, we stress again that the Respondents (RWS, DA & BFAR) did not even have the decency to inform the Honorable Court that they had already taken out the eleven dolphins before the Honorable Court last November 19, 2012.”
The motion further reads: “This makes a mockery of the proceedings in this case and is in brazen and utter contempt of this Honorable Court and the entire administration of justice in the country.”
Indirect contempt falls under Section 4 Rule 71 of the Revised Rules on Civil Procedure for “any improper conduct, tending directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct or to degrade the administration of justice” under Section 3 of the same rule. Penalties for indirect contempt carries a fine and/or imprisonment.
Meanwhile, in a motion dated 20 November 2012, RWS filed a compulsory counterclaim against the green groups amounting to 4 Million Pesos for moral, exemplary damages and legal fees.
RWS claims that the activists put the company “in a very bad light, portraying it as a violator of environmental laws and oppressive to its animals” and that the law suit filed was “wrongful, baseless and malicious.” For that reason, RWS requested the court to dismiss the petition filed by the activists and to burden the latter to pay for the damages and litigation costs.
EII, PAWS and CARA however, believe that it is a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) case that is meant to harass and silence environmental advocates seeking the implementation of environmental laws. SLAPPs is defined by the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, promulgated by the Supreme Court in 2010 as “A legal action filed to harass, vex, exert undue pressure or stifle any legal recourse that any person, institution or the government has taken or may take in the enforcement of environmental laws, protection of the environment or assertion of environmental rights.”
The green groups assert that their case against RWS, DA and BFAR seek the implementation of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of the Philippines or RA 9147 and international conservation laws. Furthermore, the group believes that RWS, DA & BFAR should be held accountable for hastily transporting 25 dolphins to Singapore despite ongoing hearings in court resulting to the death of a dolphin named Wen-Wen last November 2012.
Asked about the effect of the SLAPPs case against them Earth Island Institute Philippines Regional Director Trixie Concepcion says that the best way RWS can tarnish its reputation is to file a case against the country’s leading animal welfare groups, environmental organizations and multi-awarded environmental heroes. According to Concepcion, “SLAPPs cannot deter good people with a rightful cause, rather, it will even give us the venue to clearly present the arguments for our case. Upholding RWS’ counterclaim is a true ‘SLAPP’ in the face of justice.” ####
Environment and animal welfare activists in Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand held simultaneous memorials today for Wen Wen, the 10-year old male dolphin that died enroute to Singapore from the Philippines last 22 November 2012.
Wen Wen, one of 25 dolphins from the Philippines is currently the subject of an on-going case for the violation of the Wildlife Act or RA 9147. Activists condemned the hasty transfer of the dolphins to Singapore despite the on-going case.
“Wen Wen died because of greed and lack of environmental justice,” says Trixie Concepcion of Earth Island Institute (EII), “If she had been left with her family in the wild, she could be alive today. But the greed of a corporation, and the lack of environmental justice in the Philippines allowed for her capture and transfer to Singapore. This is what caused her death.”
The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), co-complainant in the case with Earth Island Institute erected a memorial tile at their Animal Rehabilitation Center along Katipunan. It reads: “Rest in Peace, Wen Wen. Swim freely across the Rainbow Bridge.”
‘We will not forget Wen Wen or the other dolphins and animals who died in captivity just to entertain people. We will continue the fight for the remaining dolphins' release,” says Anna Cabrera of PAWS.
Leading the memorial is the Singapore-based ACRES led by Louis Ng. According to Ng, dolphins are inherently wild animals and do not fare well in captivity.
“We urge Resorts World Sentosa to now work with ACRES, Earth Island Institute and other groups to release the rest of the dolphins back to the wild. This is a time for Resorts World Sentosa to show that they truly care about these dolphins and set them free.” concludes Ng.
Dolphin’s Demise Reignites Sentosa Controversy - posted in Dolphins in Captivity: http://blogs.wsj.com...osa-controversy One of the 25 bottlenose dolphins slated to be part of a new attraction at the luxury Resorts World Sentosa casino resort...