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DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje

DENR urged public not to treat wildlife as “personal property”

DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje
DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje urged the public not to treat wildlife species as personal property, citing that ongoing efforts to conserve the country’s flora and fauna will be futile if the practice continues.

“The key is to change the way we think about wildlife. We should not look at them as our property, but part of God’s creation that we are meant to co-exist with here on earth,” Paje said in a speech delivered during the celebration of the World Wildlife Day (WWD) on March 3.

“While people may consider experiences with wildlife as part of their fondest memories, wildlife is not really meant for our enjoyment especially when extracted [from their habitat],” he said.

Paje, meanwhile, said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources or DENR has been intensifying efforts to curb the illegal wildlife trade – which sources its contraband by smuggling usually threatened species for use as pets, food or alternative medicine – by tapping more partners in enforcing wildlife laws. This was evident in the recent apprehensions of illegally shipped wildlife in Palawan and Mindanao, he said.

Although the Philippines has been recognized globally for its anti-illegal wildlife trade initiatives, Paje said: “A hundred percent success in enforcement also means the illegal extraction of wildlife does not stop.”

Last month, the Philippines, represented by DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo, Jr., joined other countries in reaffirming its commitment against the illegal trade of threatened wildlife such as elephants and tigers during the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade. The conference was initiated by no less than Britain’s Prince Charles and Prince William, who are known wildlife and environmental advocates.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.