On the last weekend of May 2012 before we cap this year's summer activity, we went to CAP-Oceans to witness the first-ever bamboo shark release Back to the Wild Program of Manila Ocean Parks. These sharks were bred in captivity inside the oceanarium. With the support of different environmentalist and conservationist, everyone is gathered here today to witness this "oceanic" event.
|Back to the Wild Registration|
Below is the company's official statement about the Back to the Wild Program.
Manila Ocean Park, the country’s first world-class and largest aquarium facility and integrated resort destination has recently launched its corporate social responsibility banner program, “I Love My Ocean”. It is a nationwide campaign that encourages volunteerism, public education and community mobilization activities designed to increase public awareness and action on coastal management issues and instill pride in our country’s natural resources.
Manila Ocean Park through “I Love My Ocean” showcases marine biodiversity from within and around the waters of the Philippines, and it seeks to highlight the little-known fact that the Philippine archipelago is located in the global epicenter of marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle. As such, it takes every occasion to disseminate powerful messages on protecting and conserving this rich marine heritage that our country has been blessed with.
Back to the Wild
This May 2012, MOP highlights its newest conservation program called “Back to the Wild”. Manila Ocean Park seeks to integrate sustainability factors in its initiatives, namely through its information, education and communications campaign, science research projects, resource management programs and day-to-day operations. These are meant to facilitate one of its objectives: to give back to the marine habitats where most of the oceanarium’s specimens originally come from. There will be a series of specimen release, starting with bamboo sharks. The program will release 20-30 juvenile sharks into select marine protected areas or MPAs, with the first release slated to occur on May 26, 2012. Some of the sharks will be released in shallow waters by snorkelers; the rest will be released in deeper waters by divers.
Manila Ocean Park hopes to focus on positive news regarding sharks. These species have been subject to various misconceptions, negative publicity and cruel acts. The sad fact is that humans are the biggest threat to their survival, largely due to shark finning and overfishing.
Partner Organizations & LGUs
Manila Ocean Park has chosen to partner with Conserve and Protect Oceans (CAP-Oceans), a non-stock, non-profit organization aimed at building a strong multi-sectoral advocacy for the conservation and protection of the sea and its rich natural resources. Its program is geared towars the services of encouraging community stakeholders in different environmental management activities and it is established by a group of divers.
Aside from CAP-Oceans, other organizations who are part of Back to the Wild program include Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI and the local government unit of Calatagan together with its youth leaders.
Manila Ocean Park is fully aware of its obligation to reach a broad public and impart necessary information relevant to current environmental issues. It is our aim that the “Back to the Wild” Release program will be a step in the right direction for marine education and conservation. We hope that more people will do their share in ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy and see these fascinating animals in their natural habitat.
As I'm typing these, there is already a long queue of people who are gathered here at CAPOceans to be part of this bamboo shark release program. The schedule of the Back to the Wild Program is as follows:
7 to 7:30 - Registration of Participants
730 to 8:00 - Talk: How to Rescue Stranded Sharks by BFAR-NFRDI
8:00 to 9:00 - Back to the Wild Program Proper
a. Opening Prayer
b. Philippine National Anthem
c. Welcome Remarks by Barangay Bagong Silang, Calatagan Captain Joel Rico
d. Acknowledgement of VVIPs, special guests, partners, participants
e. Introduction of the Back to the Wild Program by Ms. Leanna Manubag (Assistant Curator/Senior Marine Biologist, Manila Ocean Park)
* Ms. Armi Cortes, VP Sales & Marketing
* Dr. Benjamin Vallejo, Science Consultant
* Jessie delos Reyes, Project Coordinator CAP-Oceans
* Hon. Lenie Pantoja, Vice Mayor, Municipality of Calatagan
* Hon. Sophia Palacio, M.D. Municipal of Mayor Calatagan, Batangas
* Dir. Melchor Tayamen, Director, BFAR-NFRDI
g. Keynote speaker: Hon. Mark Leviste, Vice Governor, Batangas Province
h. Orientation on the proper way of handling & Releasing the sharks by Jappy Lim (Program Development Specialist, Manila Ocean Park)
i. Signing of Memorandum
9:00 to 10:30 Bamboo Shark Release
10:30 Closing Remarks