DENR monitors H5N1 flu in Region 1, opens cloning center in Pangasinan

Migratory Birds carry Avian influenza h5n1
The regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in La Union is closely monitoring 19 critical wetlands in the region in the wake reports of a “possible major resurgence” of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1).
Likewise, the office inaugurated its first clonal facility in Mangatarem, Pangasina intended to produce and propagate quality seedlings for the National Greening Program.
Regional Executive Director Samuel Peñafiel issued the directive as the wetlands are part of the flyway frequented by migratory birds from nearby countries like Malaysia, Singapore, China, and Taiwan.
“With the onset of cold season in our neighbor countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, China, and Taiwan, we expect migratory birds coming in, and feed in our wetland areas,” Peñafiel said.
Migratory birds are suspected to carry the flu virus, according to him.
Region 1 Technical Director for Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS) said the critical wetlands in the region which are being closely monitored are situated in Pagudpud and Paoay in Ilocos Norte; Caoayan, Bantay and Suyo in Ilocos Sur; Sto. Tomas in La Union; Binmaley, Natividad, San Manuel, Bolinao, and Alaminos City in Pangasinan.
Report on the Asian Waterfowl Census held early this year indicated that a total of 51 waterbird species was observed in the region’s wetland sites. Among these were egrets (little, intermediate, great and cattle egret), herons (purple, grey, great-billed rufous night and little green heron), bittern, redshrank, greenshrank, wood sand piper, Philippine duck, wandering whistling duck, tufled duck, black-winged stilt, Pacific golden plover, shirebirds, kingfishers, brahminy kite, wagtail and grey-tailed tattler.
Meanwhile, the DENR regional office recently inaugurated its first cloning facility in Mangatarem, Pangasinan.
RED Penafiel said the facility is intended to produce and propagate quality-planting stocks for the National Greening Program through cloning. The facility includes a greenhouse, a seed storage laboratory, a bunkhouse and a hedge garden, according to him.
Cloning is a process by which a seedling is reproduced from a bulb or cutting to ensure it is genetically identical to the mother tree.
Relative to this, Penafiel said that only the best quality indigenous species in the region shall be used for cloning, to include apitong, yakal and kamagong.
As of press time, DENR-Region 1 has planted some 5,000 hectares of upland areas with forest tree species and fruit-bearing trees under the NGP.