Press Release

Press Release of Negros Forests Ecological Foundation, Inc.

Sumakwel's Song of Freedom

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Storytelling, one of the earliest forms of folk art, was featured for the first time today as part of Negros Wildlife Month celebrations.

Renowned local storyteller, Mark Asuela, from the charity foundation Share An Opportunity Philippines, was the guest narrator.

Using antlers from a rare Visayan Spotted Deer, renowned storyteller Mark Asuela tells the children about Sumakwel's Song of Freedom.

Speaking to 150 local school children at the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation's Center in Bacolod City his chosen tale was 'Sumakwel's Song of Freedom'.

This tells of a young Visayan Spotted Deer who asks his grandfather why the family ended up in the Mari-it Wildlife Conservation Park in Panay.

The old deer tells the fawn how long ago they all enjoyed the freedom of the forests, but then as the forests became smaller and smaller due to logging, hunting and poaching life became a dangerous struggle. But, their deepest wish is one day to return to the forests and once again enjoy their freedom.

St. Scho does it again

Jamina Anne Padilla, a fourth year student at St. Scholastica Academy, took first place in the 2009 Wildlife Month Extemporaneous Speech Competition held today at West Negros University in Bacolod City.

Her speech highlighted how threatened species can be saved even if some of them, such as the Visayan Warty Pig, cause damage to upland agricultural crops.

This is the second Wildlife Month contest win for St. Scho this week. On Wednesday, two students took first and second places in the poster art competition.

St. Scholastica Student Wins Art Tilt

Winner of this year’s Negros Wildlife Week environmental poster competition, held today at Robinsons in Bacolod City, was 11year-old St. Scholastica student Renee Joy Beljera. Her winning entry called ‘Saving Nature’ shows ways that everyone can help save mother nature.

St. Scholastica student Renee Joy Beljera with her winning poster entry ‘"Saving Nature". Looking on are (l-r) NFEFI’s Mimie Ledesma, judging panel member Imelda Tinsay, NFEFI curator Dr. Joanne Justo, and NFEFI president Paul Lizares.*

Runner-up, also from St. Scholastica, was 11 year-old Princess Gardose. Third was 12 year-old Dennyl Eve Ariola from Andres Bonifacio Elementary School 1.

Negros Wildlife Month Underway

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Negros Wildlife Month kicked-off today with a colorful 250-strong street parade of students, volunteers and concerned citizens dressed in masks and costumes to show many of the endemic and threatened species of Negros.

Leading the parade, which left from the Bacolod Public Plaza, were two Tay Tung students wearing spectacular bright yellow outfits and representing the threatened Visayan Leopard Cat

(l-r) NFEFI president Paul Lizares; Tay Tung students Kurt Patrick
Yu and Lezyl Coloso; Gov. Isidro Zayco

The students, 17-year-old Kurt Patrick Yu and 16-year-old Lezyl Coloso, said they chose to dress as Leopard Cats because these animals were graceful and beautiful and needed protecting.

In addition to leading the parade, they were also declared Mr. and Ms. Wildlife 2009 - 2010 and will serve as conservation ambassadors for the province.

The parade finished at the Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Activity Center for the opening ceremony. Guest of honor was Gov. Isidro Zayco who said: "I hope Wildlife Month, which will now be an official annual event, will do much to create wider awareness among our people of the unique wildlife of Negros.

"We all have the responsibility to take positive steps to protect and preserve it."

Wildlife Month is organized by the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation, Inc (NFEFI) with the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PBCFI) and in close collaboration with the Governor's Office through the Provincial Environment Management Office; Department of Environment and Natural Resources; La Consolacion College-Bacolod; West Negros University and the Silliman University-Center for Tropical Conservation Studies.

Speaking at today's ceremony, NFEFI president Paul Lizares said that Negrenses must be part of the solution, not the problem.

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.

November is Provincial Wildlife Month

November has again been officially declared as Wildlife Month for Negros Occidental.

It promises to be an exciting month of celebrations and activities all designed to increase awareness among Negrenses of the need to protect and conserve the diverse and unique wildlife of the island.

Themed, 'Preserve our home - conserve wildlife - protect their habitats', this year's program kicks off on Tuesday, November 10 with an 'Animals of Negros' foot parade leaving from the Bacolod Public Plaza at 1:30pm.

British Ambassador Joins NFEFI

At a recent meeting in Manila, Bacolod-based British national and NFEFI trustee Robert Harland briefed the new UK Ambassador, Stephen Lillie, on the many projects undertaken by the foundation. He highlighted the long-standing and close relationship between NFEFI and British-based environmental groups.
Ambassador Lillie, himself a keen environmentalist, immediately signed up to become a NFEFI sustaining member. He said he looked forward to visiting NFEFI’s Animal Breeding and Conservation Center in Bacolod City on his next visit to Negros.

(l-r): British Ambassador Stephen Lillie with Robert Harland, NFEFI sustaining member Hazel Stuart and British Consul Joanne Finnamore-Crorkin

Expedition Presents Findings to the Royal Geographical Society

In April this year, a joint UK-Philippines Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition (NIBE) set out from Campuestohan in Talisay City to undertake the first biological exploration of the interior of the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP).

The Baldusa Falls in the NNNP

This is an environmental hotspot and one of the top ten most important areas of forest in the world. It had not been scientifically explored before.

Members of the expedition slept in hammocks likes this

In September, the British members of the team premiered the expedition documentary film and presented an overview of the expedition and its findings to Britain’s prestigious Royal Geographical Society in London.