Despite conservation effort, 1/3 of world’s coral reefs face danger of extinction

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Palawan’s Tubbataha National Marine Park is designated by the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as one of the World’s Heritage sites. It is being considered among the planet’s 7 new natural wonders. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) vice chair Lory Yap (Philippines) said the fish biomass in the reef practically doubled from 2004-2005 through regulated tourism and wildlife management.

Yet, in a separate report, 45 poachers were recently nabbed by marine park rangers in the area. The poachers attempted to bribe their way to gather an endangered sea-shell called samung (Tochus noliticus.) used to make commercial buttons and jewelry, sought for by traders in Cebu.

Conservation proponents continue to face an uphill battle against people who disregard efforts to protect and save the environment. More than 200 samung collectors this year have been apprehended in Tubbataha Reef in violation of an international agreement which penalizes violators to up to 12 to 20 years in prison.

In spite of such effort, about a third of the world’s coral reefs still face extinction because of climate change, sedimentation, and human intrusion. The ominous environmental changes and build up of pollution have hampered the reefs to rebuild, preventing fish and other marine life to thrive. Philstar (10/22/08, Ercheminada, P)

According to WWF spokesman, Gregg Yan, a kilometer square of undamaged coral reef can produce as much as 30 tons of seafood yearly for the sustenance of the people, but it depends on how much the reef is preseved and kept healthy.

Meeting in Manila, government officials and wildlife experts from countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands seek ways to save the world’s richest marine region which encompasses parts of Sulu-Sulawesi, South China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. Obviously, in terms of wildlife conservation, a lot has still to be done. (Photo Credits: melhins; courtneyplatt; mikebond) =0=

UPDATE: 10/24/08: The US government pledged a total of $39.45 million to save the world’s greatest coral reef (Coral Triangle) which borders six countries, including the Philippines. This was announced by US Ambassador Kristie Kenney putting the total pledges to $450 million from collective contributions from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, US Agency for International Development and the Australian Agency for International Development. =0=

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