The Philippine cockatoo is an inhabitant of the Philippine archipelago. These majestic birds are near the top of the IUCN Red List of threatened species, with only around a thousand still living in the wild. The largest population of these cockatoos inhabits Rasa, a small coral island separated from the much larger island of Palawan by a strait only 500 meters wide.
The Philippine government is now planning a coal-fired power plant exactly opposite Rasa. The plant and its sooty smokestacks would block the birds’ route to their feeding grounds on Palawan, thus jeopardizing the remaining 250 Philippine cockatoos on Rasa.
Screeching raucously, a flight of endangered Philippine cockatoos crosses the narrow strait that separates the tiny coral island Rasa from Palawan, a much larger island and the birds’ feeding ground, for Rasa is too small to support the population. This vital route could soon be blocked by a coal-fired power plant that DMCI Power Corporation intends to build on the coast of Palawan.
Environmentalists are speaking out against the plan: “Policymakers are trying to give Palawan a green image and promote the island as the last ecological frontier of the Philippines. Yet approving a coal power plant in such a highly sensitive area and putting the survival of an entire species at risk is a crass contradiction of those efforts,” explains Peter Widmann, vice president of the Katala Foundation. The decision by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development ignores the submitted environmental studies and the will of the municipal government, and of the residents of Barangay Panacan.
About 260 Philippine cockatoos live on Rasa Island, making it the largest population in the wild. Only 30 years ago, the birds inhabited virtually the entire Philippines. Today, the IUCN Red List categorizes them as critically endangered. Only an estimated 1,000 birds still live in the wild in the Philippines.
The imposing birds have numerous enemies: logging, agriculture and mining are destroying their habitats, and the illegal animal trade poses a grave threat to their survival. Poachers plunder almost every unguarded nest in the wild and sell the young birds as decorative pets.
Please add your signature to the letter by Philippine environmentalists protesting the power plant:
Thanks for being involved,
Rainforest Rescue (Rettet den Regenwald e.V.)