ACB pledges support to save the biodiversity of eruption affected areas
The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) expressed readiness and has pledged to support activities to salvage what’s remaining of the biodiversity in areas affected by the recent Taal volcano eruption.
“With our headquarters based in Calabarzon, we, at the ACB, are ready to support activities that will look into the impact of such natural disasters on biodiversity, including wild species of flora and fauna, and how these impacts can be mitigated or reduced,” ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita Lim said.
The restive Taal Volcano, which is located 60 kilometers away from Metro Manila, has been spewing ash since January 12, threatening a “hazardous” eruption, according to reports.
Lim commended the recent pronouncements of the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other concerned groups in saving stranded animals and wildlife in affected areas, noting the necessity for the enforcement of an evacuation plan for animals during emergencies.
“Animals and wildlife in these areas need our attention, as well. Like humans, animals may suffer from silicosis and other pulmonary diseases by inhaling volcanic ash. They should be rescued and be given a proper physical examination by qualified veterinarians. Shelters may be set up for rescued animals,” said Lim, a wildlife expert and former director of DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau.
Likewise, rescued wild animals after rehabilitation must be released to their natural habitats, which are less affected by the volcanic activity
“The healthier and more mobile ones must just be allowed to flee, as they can instinctively seek shelter for themselves,” Lim.
The ACB executive director said emergencies like this provide the region valuable insights and learnings that will help each ASEAN member state develop better measures that take into account biodiversity and nature-based solutions in disaster management.
She added that these lessons would enhance the existing ASEAN Disaster Management Reference Handbook that serves as an initial source of information for individuals preparing for disaster risk reduction activities or immediate deployment to ASEAN Member States.
“We hope we can create the optimum conditions to promote natural regeneration and ecosystem restoration to recover lost biodiversity and biodiversity-based livelihoods that will translate to resiliency and adaptability in the country, within the ASEAN Region, and for the people of ASEAN,” she said.
The ACB is an intergovernmental organization created by the ASEAN Member States to facilitate cooperation and coordination among member states as well as with regional and international organizations on conserving and sustainably using biodiversity aside from promoting fair and equitable sharing of benefits from utilizing this natural resource.