By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Harboring over 52,000 described species of flora and fauna, the Philippines is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. It is rich in various ecosystems that provide food, shelter, and other economic benefits for millions of people.
Forests are among these valuable ecosystems that provide not only for the animals and plants found there but also to people living in or near the area. From forests, several species of plants and animals indigenous to the Philippines thrive and provide a biologically diverse ecosystem.
People can also get products from forests such as timber and non-timber products which they can use to their benefit.
But there are instances when people take advantage of the Philippines’ diverse wildlife and abuse it to a certain extent. The most common form of exploitation done to wildlife is the illegal wildlife trade (IWT).
In the Philippines, the value of IWT is estimated at ₱50 million a year, which includes the market value of wildlife and its resources, their ecological role and value, damage to habitats incurred during poaching, and loss in potential ecotourism revenues.
To raise awareness about IWT and help equip people with the knowledge about IWT, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), its Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), the Global Environment Facility, and the Asian Development Bank have come up with an online course that stakeholders and wildlife law enforcers can access to help them better combat IWT.
A first for the Wildlife Law Enforcement
The online course was launched during the celebration of World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2021, Wednesday, under the theme “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet,” which focused on the central role of forests, forest species, and ecosystems services in sustaining the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people globally.
As a tool for apprehending IWT, the Wildlife Law Enforcement Online Training is meant to improve the capacity building as well as provide and share information against IWT across the law-enforcement chain.
Being the first self-paced e-learning course on Philippine Wildlife Law Enforcement, the course is available to access at any time, any place, and in any space.
Over the past decade, wildlife law enforcers spend eight hours within three to five days just to learn the ropes on wildlife law enforcement. With this online course, they can focus their time and energy on actual policing.
With the online course, enforcers and stakeholders can refer to the information available again and again.
What’s in the course
Seven modules and 19 topics are available on the online course.
Lessons range from wildlife law enforcement in the Philippines, introduction to IWT, species commonly involved in wildlife crimes, laws that protect wildlife, to the local and international agencies involved in wildlife law enforcement.
All module topics were developed and reviewed by experts with wide experience in biodiversity issues, wildlife and environmental law enforcement, policy, and capacity building.
By adapting to modern times, wildlife law enforcers and stakeholders can have a better chance of policing and apprehending IWTs, thus keeping endemic plants and animals safe from exploitation as well as promoting the biodiversity of forests and other ecosystems.
For more information or help on the course, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.