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Nation

5 rare pigeons set free at Mindoro’s Apo Reef

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Five Nicobar pigeons have been released into the wild after undergoing rehabilitation for six years at the Wildlife Rescue Center (WRC) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Director Theresa Mundita Lim of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), said the five pigeons (Caloenas nicobarica) included three females and two males.

“The release of the pigeons at the Apo Reef in Occidental Mindoro on Thursday aims to augment the population of the critically endangered bird. The move was part of the national observance of the first-ever World Wildlife Day,” she said.

The BMB led the ceremony at the Apo Reef Natural Park together with local government officials.

Lim said the 34-square-kilometer protected area off Sablayan town is an ideal breeding site for pigeons.

At least 33 Nicobar pigeons are presently on Apo Island, the largest of three islands that make up the reef, she added.

“We are releasing these birds into the wild as an intervention to help increase their population,” she said.

A native of Southeast Asia, the Nicobar pigeon (locally known as Siete Colores) is named after an archipelagic island chain in the eastern Indian Ocean. The bird, considered as one of the most beautiful of the many species of doves, is classified as “near threatened” on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Lim said the Nicobar pigeons were rescued from poachers in Pampanga in 2008.

“We still have two Nicobar pigeons kept at the WRC. However, these are still under evaluation if they are already fit for release,” she said.

APO ISLAND

APO REEF

APO REEF NATURAL PARK

CONSERVATION OF NATURE

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

DIRECTOR THERESA MUNDITA LIM OF THE BIODIVERSITY MANAGEMENT BUREAU

ENDANGERED SPECIES

FIVE NICOBAR

INDIAN OCEAN

NICOBAR

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