The field offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 6, its Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENROs) in Guimbal, Iloilo and Belison, Antique undertook their annual Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) on wetlands within their areas of jurisdiction.

CENRO Guimbal held their census on five (5) identified wetland areas within Iloilo City and Leganes namely, in Brgys. Sooc and San Jose, Arevalo; Brgy. Hinactacan, La Paz; Brgys. Balabago and Bitoon, Jaro; and in Brgy. Katunggan in Leganes, last January 9-12, 2024.

A total of one thousand one hundred seventy-two (1,172) waterbirds were counted which include species such as Black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Common tern (Sterna hirundo), Egrets, Moorhen (Gallinula), Javan Pond (Ardeola speciosa), Sandpiper (Scolopacidae), Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), Plover (Charadriinae), White-Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris), Curlew (Numenius), Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), Pigeon (Columbidae), Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata), Balikasyaw (Dicruridae), Philippine Duck (Anas luzonica), and Whistling Duck (Dendrocygninae).

Meanwhile, CENRO Belison concluded its four-day waterbird census on January 12, 2024 that was made possible through the efforts of the team composed of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Antique’s Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Unit Chief and staff, representatives from ENRO and Provincial Veterinary Office of Antique, Local Government Units of Hamtic and San Jose de Buenavista through their respective Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Offices (MENROs), and Barangay Tanods of the identified sites for the census.

Established sites include Brgys. Calala, Budbudan and Lapaz-Tubog in Hamtic, and Brgy. Supa, San Jose de Buenavista. CENRO Belison had been visiting the mentioned established sites for AWC since 2021 up to the present.

“By protecting our wetlands, we are also providing crucial shelter for migratory birds escaping the winter in their places of origin, as well as our local wildlife. This census will bring in data which will be of great help in improving our conservation efforts. DENR 6 is committed and calling on everyone to do their part in preserving these natural wonders,” Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran stated.

The regional office will be consolidating reports from its field offices after the census on the different wetlands in Western Visayas is completed. Other PENROs and CENROs are slated to conduct their own waterbird census in the coming days and weeks.