The Mindoro Bleeding Heart, one of the few species of pigeon that is found only in the Philippines, has long been on the endangered species list.
With only 400 of this bird remaining, it is rarely seen even in the wild.
There are five known Bleeding Heart species—Luzon Bleeding Heart, Mindoro Bleeding Heart, Negros Bleeding Heart, Sulu Bleeding Heart and Mindanao Bleeding Heart, all named after where they are found. The species are all identically the same, varying only in numbers and first names.
The Bleeding Heart species belongs to the bird family Columbidae, a branch of vertebrae of pigeons and doves. This pigeon is medium-sized and short-tailed with a distinct small, bright orange central patch to otherwise white underparts, hence the name Bleeding Heart.
The Mindoro Bleeding Heart or Puñalada, as locals call it, is endemic to Mindoro Island and is the rarest bird of all the five known species. With only a few hundred remaining, the critically endangered pigeon is one of the top priorities of the Haribon Foundation.
As this bird is mostly seen on the ground, deforestation plays a major part in making the species endangered.” Maria Belinda dela Paz, chief operating officer of Haribon Foundation told The Sunday Times Magazine. “We [The Haribon Foundation] have been working on conserving the Mindoro Bleeding Heart since year 2000.”
The foundation has worked with local government units as well as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to preserve and develop not just the Bleeding Heart’s habitat but all habitats for animal life.
With the Local Government Code or Republic Act 9147 (An act providing for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and their habitats, appropriating funds therefor and for other purposes), Haribon believes that sustaining the natural habitat of all species can be achieved.
“There are very few Mindoro Bleeding Heart birds left, and with that we can use it as an icon to indicate the habitat in which it resides. We can calculate the health of the habitat by the numbers. Seeing it incline or decline can help us observe if the habitat is getting better,” dela Paz said.
Species are said to have been vanishing at a much faster rate for about a century because of human factors such as pollution, commercial overexploitation, poaching and deforestation.