PANDAN, Antique—Hopes are high for the conservation of both writhed-billed hornbills and the Visayan tarictic hornbills in Pandan, Antique.
Rhea Santillan of the Philippine Initiative for Conservation of Environment and the People Inc. (Philincon) said that, in 2015 there were around 1,183 nest holes of both Visayan tarictic and writhed-billed hornbills have been found in Pandan.
She said they had started conducting another inventory this year the results of which are expected to be released in the first quarter of 2018.
The town of Pandan was included in the Northwest Panay Peninsula. It also included the towns of Nabas, Malay and Buruanga in nearby Aklan province and Libertad in Antique province.
Both hornbills, especially the writhed-billed hornbills, are being considered as critically endangered on Panay and Negros islands. The writhed-billed hornbill is locally known as dulungan.
In 2002 the Philincon only recorded 31 nest holes, while in 2006 around 502 nest holes were found.
The hornbills are being considered as the provincial bird of Antique. Since 2002 the Philincon has been in the forefront of protecting the hornbills from possible extinction.
Their increase could be credited to the effective nest-protection scheme of the Philincon.
Virgilio Sanchez of the Save Antique Movement said although the hornbills are increasing in number, threats against them—such as illegal hunting and poaching—continue in the province.
“We have been hearing reports that residents are poaching these birds for food and money,” Sanchez said.
Gianne Portaje, technical staff of the Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Unit of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in Akan, said they continue to keep an eye in the conservation of hornbills in the Northwest Panay Peninsula.
“Our office has recorded the rescue of these hornbills from Boracay Island and in neighboring areas for several years now,” Portaje said.
Besides in Pandan, it is also believed that there are also several hornbills existing in the Central Panay Mountain Range.