BORACAY – A body will watch over the proposed 750.96-hectare critical habitat in this island resort, according to an official from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“We will be forming the Boracay Island Critical Habitat Management Council,” said Atty. Theresa Tenazas of the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau.
Critical habitats are zones outside protected areas (defined under the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992) where threatened species are found.
Tenazas said the council will be partnering with the local government units, the regional Tourism department, nongovernment organizations, peoples’ organizations, and other stakeholders to “protect, preserve and further manage whatever is left in the island.”
The DENR is pushing for the establishment of critical habitats in Boracay. The move is aimed at conserving the biodiversity in the island’s forestlands and wetlands.
Republic Act 9147, or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, states that the establishment of critical habitats must be “made on the basis of the best scientific data taking into consideration species endemicity and/or richness, presence of man-made pressures/threats to the survival of wildlife living in the area, among others.”
Boracay’s 31.107-hectare marine and 119.85-hectare land areas are proposed to be declared as critical habitats for endemic and threatened species of green turtle, hawksbill turtle and bats.
Being a part of the rehabilitation action plan in the island, the DENR is preparing to issue a department order that will support the establishment of Boracay critical habitats, which are located in barangays Balabag and Yapak.
Tenazas also urged the Malay municipal council to pass an ordinance that will adopt the efforts of the DENR in pushing for establishment of critical habitats in Boracay. (Aklan Forum Journal/PN)