Cimatu cites media role in migratory wildlife conservation

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu highlighted the important role played by the media in migratory wildlife conservation during a press conference for the 12th Session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS-COP12) held on Monday at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

According to Cimatu, the information campaign for protection of migratory species and their habitats will not be successful without the help of the media.

“We encourage the media to help us disseminate better the fact that species migration is not only an amazing phenomenon that can be read in books or watched on TV, but is something that actually has a direct impact on humanity through the services they provide,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu was joined in the press conference by CMS Executive Director Bradnee Chambers, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretary General John Scanlon, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw, and UN Goodwill Ambassadors Nadya Hutagalung and Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Chambers said the media play a crucial role in drawing attention to the plight of migratory wildlife species whose numbers are rapidly declining due to unabated hunting and habitat loss.

“The environment belongs in the mainstream, not the periphery,” Chambers told the media personnel who attended the press conference. “We rely on you to spread the message why migratory species are significant and why they remain vulnerable.”

Scanlon, meanwhile, emphasized people’s role in ensuring the survival of migratory species, including those “in trade or potentially in trade.”

He also urged governments to be more serious in tackling wildlife crime.

“Wildlife crime should be treated as a serious crime,” Scanlon said, noting that in some countries wildlife crimes are punishable by at least four years in prison.

Hutagalung, for her part, said environmental leaders are counting on the media in spreading information about the importance of conserving migratory species and their habitats.

“It is through storytelling that you change people’s minds and hearts,” said Hutagalung, who co-founded the “Let Elephants Be Elephants” campaign to fight ivory trade.

Delegates from over 120 countries are in the Philippines for the CMS-COP12 happening from October 23 to 28, marking the first time the conference is held in Asia since the global treaty was adopted in Bonn, Germany in 1979 and came into force in 1985.

CMS is the only global intergovernmental treaty established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. ###