DENR-12 rescues 2 wild birds

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 8 April) – Environment personnel have rescued two wild birds, one of them considered endangered, in Maasim town, Sarangani province and Koronadal City in South Cotabato.

Dr. Sabdullah Abubacar, executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Region 12, said in a statement on Wednesday a juvenile crested serpent eagle (Spilomis cheela) was retrieved by their personnel from a hunter in Maasim and an eastern grass owl (Tyto longimembris) from a resident of Koronadal City.

He said the endangered crested serpent eagle was reportedly captured late last week by a resident of Sitio Mutag, Barangay Bales in Maasim and eventually displayed it on Facebook.

He said a concerned citizen was alarmed by the Facebook post, which showed the hunter holding the eagle by its wings, and immediately alerted the DENR-12’s regional public affairs office last Sunday, April 5.

The post was under the account name “Way Hilakay Oi” (Hey don’t cry) and showed a young man with his face covered by the raptor, with the “ventral side and both wings spread apart,” he said.

It was captioned: “I love hunting kagagaling kulang sa gubat nakahuli po ako ng isa sisiw ng eagle (I love hunting just arrived from the mountains and caught this eaglet).”

Abubacar said personnel from the Maasim Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office retrieved the eagle on Monday afternoon and turned it over to the Quick Response Team (QRT) of the DENR-12’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) in Kiamba town.

The juvenile eagle was reportedly captured by the hunter from an eagle nest nestled atop a huge old tree, as reported by Forester Michael Perales, who headed the Cenro-Kiamba QRT that visited the site.

Dr. Ali Hajinasser, Cenro-Kiamba head, said the eagle was included in the list of vulnerable bird species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES II), an international agreement that “aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.”

He said a case will be filed against the unnamed hunter for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation Act.

“Hunting of vulnerable species of bird under CITES II is a clear violation of the provisions of RA 9147,” he said.

In Koronadal City, a concerned citizen identified as Peter Francisco Biñas Sr. reportedly found the eastern grass owl on Sunday morning in a rice field located near Robredo Street in Barangay Zone III.

Biñas was harvesting vegetables when he noticed the owl entangled by a thread from a suspected kite, said DENR-12 conservation and development division head Dr. Rosalinda Cortez.

His granddaughter reported the matter to their village’s Sangguniang Kabataan officials, who then notified the DENR-12 via social media.

Cortez said they found the owl “healthy and active without traces of harm or injury” and released it to a forested area in Barangay Paraiso on April 6.

Abubacar lauded the immediate response of the concerned citizens and their personnel to rescue the threatened birds despite the ongoing lockdown due to the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.

“COVID-19 cannot hinder the DENR-12 to fulfill its duty to protect the environment and natural resources,” he said. (MindaNews)