SINGAPORE, 22 August 2020 – Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap attended on 19 August 2020 at the Jurong Bird Park (JBP) a symbolic handover in preparation for the 20 August 2020 flight of 10 Luzon Bleeding-Hearts back to the Philippines.
The Luzon Bleeding-Heart is a dove species that are ground-dwellers endemic to the rainforests of central and southern Luzon, and in the neighbouring Polillo Islands in the Philippines. It got its name from its distinct splash of vivid red right in the centre of their white breast, with a reddish hue extending down to their belly. Unfortunately, their striking appearance make them a prime target of poaching for the pet trade. Combined with habitat loss, the birds are listed as near threatened under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species.
In 2012, two pairs of Luzon Bleeding-Hearts were sent to JBP as part of a conservation breeding agreement among JBP, Avilon Zoo and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). After 8 years, JBP has been successful in breeding a total of 60 birds from the original pair. Ten of the doves have finally made their way home with hopes of being reintroduced back to the wild in the Philippines. JBP is the only zoological institution outside of the Philippines that is part of a breeding programme repatriating the successful offspring of the Luzon Bleeding-Hearts to their native country.
Amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic when most flights are grounded, the pigeons caught a historical flight on 20 August 2020 from Singapore to the Philippines, after completing a mandatory month-long quarantine and series of health checks to determine that they are in the pink of health. After arriving in Manila, the birds will undergo another month-long quarantine in the care of the DENR before the agency determines a release of the birds to a protected area on their native island of Luzon. END