ADB, DENR, academe hold seminars on machine learning to track online illegal wildlife trade (IWT)
Whether you like it or not, we now live in the age of social media. With its practically limitless accessibility, anyone with internet connection can sign up and be part of a globally connected network where they can share just about anything. Unfortunately, this accessibility also makes social media a very hospitable platform to trade illegal wildlife. And as social media continues to develop and expand its reach, it is also opening more and more opportunities for illegal wildlife traders to grow their market.
As the trade of illegal wildlife continues to migrate to social media and to other digital platforms, enforcement agencies will need to adapt to address the continuing proliferation of cybercrime. The good news is that social media provides a wealth of data that is easily accessible, and with the right tools and know-how, it can allow enforcement agents to track illegal wildlife crimes and other activities that will help the wildlife conservation efforts of the country.
Dr. Enrico di Minin, Associate Professor of Conservation Geography from the University of Helsinki, talks about machine learning to track illegal wildlife trade (IWT) on social media in his lecture on Environmental Conservation in the Digital Age last November 27, 2019 at the BMB Training Center, Quezon City. Representatives from partner agencies of NALECC-SCENR shared their experiences in combatting IWT online and expressed interest in further capacity building in this area.
Three Major Programs
Protected Area Development and Management
This Program covers the main in-situ measures to conserve biodiversity within and adjacent to protected areas pursuant to Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrate Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 as amended by Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded NIPAS (ENIPAS) Act f 2018. The passage also led to the legislation of additional 94 Protected Areas, making a total of 244 Protected Areas composed of about 7.8M hectares (107 legislated; 13 proclaimed; 124 remaining initial components). It will ensure that the current NIPAS and ENIPAS coverage is rationalized by maintaining and prioritizing those with high biodiversity values while providing appropriate governance regime for the protection of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) such as through Local Conservation Areas (LCAs) with the LGU concerned and through Indigenous Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs).
Management of Coastal and Marine Resources/Areas
This program focuses on the sustainable management of coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove stands, soft bottom areas (mudflats), plankton community, and water quality of coastal areas. These coastal ecosystems are important in the completion of life cycles of a wide variety of commercially and ecologically important marine life which support livelihood for nearly 60% of Filipinos. Under this Program is the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program (CMEMP) pursuant to DENR Administrative Order 2016-26 which aims to achieve the effective management of the country’s coastal and marine ecosystems thereby increasing their ability to provide ecological goods and services to improve the quality of life of the coastal population particularly ensuring food security, climate change resiliency and disaster risk reduction. It also contributes to the achievement of the PDP and PBSAP targets including international commitments such as the Aichi Targets and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 14 – Life below Water).
Protection and Conservation of Wildlife
This program deals with the conservation and protection of wildlife, and/or maintenance, restoration, and enhancement of their habitats pursuant to Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001. Priority activities under this program are the following: (i) Sustainable wildlife resource use; (ii) management of invasive alien species (IAS); and (iii) Enforcement of wildlife laws, rules and regulations which include the operations/mobilization of Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Units (WTMUs); deputation and mobilization of Wildlife Enforcement Officers (WEOs); operations and maintenance of Wildlife Rescue Centers (WRCs); establishment and management of Critical Habitats; and conservation of threatened wildlife species such as, but not limited to, the marine turtle, dugong (Dugong dugon), tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis), Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), freshwater and saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus mindorensis; Crocodylus porosus), tarsier (Carlito syrichta), Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), and Visayan spotted deer (Rusa alfredi).
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