DENR-PENRO Rizal partnered with Avilon Wildlife Conservation Foundation for the conduct of a learning event titled “Lakbay Aral Para Sa Kalikasan” from March 22-24, 2023 in celebration of World Wildlife Day.

For the first part of the two-day activity, 60 personnel from the said office were educated on the endemic species in the Philippines. They witnessed more than 500 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater fishes, and invertebrates including a diverse collection of Philippine native and endemic fauna, most of which have been successfully bred in captivity through Avilon's ex-situ conservation program.

Anchored on the theme "Partnership for Wildlife Conservation”, a hands-on training on wildlife handling and an orientation on RA 9147 or “Wildlife Act” were conducted for the second part of the event, attended by 50 participants including the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officers and LGU representatives, students, and staff of the University of Rizal System - Environmental Education & Biodiversity Research Center.

Avilon Zoo Curator and Conservation Program Director, Emmanuel “Noel” Rafael presented the Prospect of Zoos as Important Science and Information Centers. He also introduced the result of their research under the foundation's conservation program and training conducted under Avilon's School of Practical Veterinary Management, Inc. and the studies on endemic species of the Philippines.

Avilon Zoo is the first and only institution in the world to have bred and reared a BUTAAN, Varanus (Philippinosaurus) olivaceus, a rare fruit-eating monitor lizard which can only be found in the Philippines.

One of the biggest challenges in wildlife rescues and turnovers is the lack of capacity to handle and restrain encountered species. Avilon department supervisors Kenneth Chester Bayanay, Jimmy Republica Jr., and Karl Christian Bereña explained the proper handling and step-by-step process of restraining species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. They emphasized that wildlife is more afraid of humans than the humans of them and will only attack whenever they feel threatened or in danger of being harmed. They introduced a set of tools, equipment, and improvised materials as necessary for rescues and transport activities.

The workshop ended with an orientation on RA 9174 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.