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Urban bird sanctuary in Ramsar list

Metro Manila’s last bird sanctuary between the cities of Las Pinas and Paranaque has been included on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, an intergovernmental treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. The 175-hectare Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area is  considered a critical habitat amid its global importance to biodiversity. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said LPPCHEA is the Philippines’ only bird sanctuary that is found in an urban area. The bird sanctuary is the first designated “critical habitat” under President Proclamation in 2007. It is the country’s sixth site on the Ramsar List. The five other sites on the Ramsar List can be found in the countryside—in Mindanano, the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary; Oriental Mindoro, the  Naujan Lake National Park; Cebu, the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary; Palawan, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, and Sulu Sea, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. The LPPCHEA is situated of the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road and bounded in the north by the Parañaque River and in the south by the Las Piñas River. Some 5,000 various kinds of migratory and resident birds, including the Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes) can be found at the sanctuary. But a P14-billion Manila Bay reclamation project is expected to displace the mangrove forest and marine habitat of the LPPCHEA and can lead to massive floods in Las Piñas City’s 17 barangays and Parañaque City’s 37 barangays, the House of Representatives’ committee on natural resources earlier disclosed. The sanctuary is also deemed a flight risk by aviation authorities putting planers at risk of bird strikes when landing and taking off at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Manila Standard tried to reach Environment Secretary Ramon Paje but hios staff said he was attending a conference in California.
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