NFEFI Spearheads Wildlife Month in NegOcc

Negros Daily Bulletin, November 10, 2009

Seventeen years ago, Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation Inc. (NFEFI) rescued an injured three year-old male Visayan spotted deer limping and severely woun-ded due to snare traps.

As a biodiversity and conservation center, NFEFI took care of the deer and provided it a safe haven along with other Negros Occ. threatened species.

Today, Luis, as they named him, enjoys "the good life" in captivity under the care of experts. He is now 20 years old.

NFEFI has no actual figures on the number of endangered animal species falling in the hands of hunters and poachers although they are sure that if it is not stopped soon, the province’ wildlife will face oblivion.

The tribe of Luis and the host of other Negros Occ. rich bio-diversity get the spotlight this month as the province celebrates the 5th Provincial Wildlife Month.

The program kicks-off today, November 10, in a parade at the Bacolod Public Plaza at 1:00 p.m., featuring animals on foot parade. At 2:00 pm, opening program will be held at the Negros Occ. Multi-Purpose Activity Center (NOM-PAC) where a search for Mr. and Ms "Wildlife" will be held.

Various activities will be conducted during this month and will be capped with a "3rd Negros Island Wildlife Quiz Bowl" in Dumaguete City on November 26.

Environmental efforts and programs such as this activity get a boost with the signing of Climate Change law late last month, considered among the landmark accomplishments of the Arroyo administration. The move will strengthen the country’s response to the changing climate and the environment.

Asked on the effects of climate change on animals in the forest, Mimie Ledesma of NFEFI told PIA that altered temperature due to climate change do affect the availability of food and the reproductive capacity of animals in the wild.

She said forest destruction, hunting and poaching and lack of information and understanding on bio-diversity are some of the major threats facing Negros Occ. forest and its inhabitants.

To address these issues, NFEFI implemented various projects in upland communities to make them partners in forest preservation. These include tree planting, livelihood, and enforcement of forest laws.

The organization has also conducted countless trainings and workshops on environment to raise the people’s awareness on its current state.

Presently, NFEFI is working with the academe by tapping universities here to improve their research capacity on the wildlife.* (PIA-LOL)