Manila, December 16, 2020 — As part of its support to strengthen wildlife law enforcement and protection in the Philippines, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided essential equipment and supplies to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to boost its work in combating wildlife trafficking and providing holistic care for rescued wildlife in its custody.
On December 11, USAID turned over to the DENR over Php2.3 million ($48,000) in tools and equipment which will be used for proper handling and management of wildlife, particularly those rescued from illegal trade. The items—including conservation tags, armored gloves, snake tongs, forceps, and microchips for efficient handling and tagging of live animals—will be distributed to DENR wildlife rescue centers across the country. These tools will help DENR veterinarians and personnel properly examine and care for rescued and injured wildlife and speed up their rehabilitation and recovery for subsequent release into natural habitats.
USAID also handed over the complete components of the Wildlife Agency and Citizen Law Enforcement Reporting Tool (WildALERT) system, which was launched on World Wildlife Day last March. WildALERT is an innovative solution developed by the DENR and USAID to help enforcers and frontliners in the field to curb wildlife crimes through real-time and centralized reporting. The system, made up of a mobile app and a reporting management platform, helps users correctly identify rescued wildlife species and promptly submit digitized reports of wildlife law violations. This can help improve the daily enforcement operations of the DENR and partner agencies across the country.
Ricardo Calderon, Director of the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau, received the new sets of tools and the WildALERT system and manuals from Rebecca Paz, Chief of Party of USAID’s Protect Wildlife Project.
With new tools in place and the WildALERT System ready for roll out, the DENR is now better equipped and ready to respond to wildlife rescues and to conduct anti-wildlife trafficking operations, contributing to the Philippine government’s heightened prevention of zoonotic diseases and potential pandemics.