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We've has just welcomed the arrival of a Mindanao bleeding heart dove chick.
There are five species of bleeding heart doves and they are found only in the Philippines. In the past, sightings of these rare birds were noted on several different islands but since 1980, their numbers have decreased significantly and are restricted to only a handful of islands.
The destruction of habitats is at the root of this species’ decline. The Philippines is home to more than 20,000 species of plants and animals. However, a staggering 95% of the country’s forests have already been cut down, largely for the establishment of high value crops such as sugar cane.
Bristol Zoological Society has been working in the Philippines for nearly two years, specifically the Mantiquil forest on the island of Negros, to combat this rapid habitat and species decline. On the island of Negros, it is thought less than 50 Negros bleeding heart doves survive.
The Society is working with local people in the community to establish a value in conserving the species and the habitats they live in. One of the crucial targets for the Society has recently been met; in southern Negros the local municipality has declared the Mantiquil forest a ‘critical watershed and critical wildlife habitat area’ – the first of its kind in Negros.
Nigel Simpson, Curator of Birds said: “Many of the households in the Mantiquil Barangay area are living in poverty so we are developing an intervention around providing benefits to local people in return for forest protection, reforestation and a control on hunting.”
Nigel added: “The acknowledgment that the forests are vital sources of clean water, as well as biodiversity, gives a value to local people, and one we can build on.”
The Zoo’s recent Bird Weekend has just raised over £140 for the Society’s bird conservation work in the Philippines.
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