CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Concerned citizens in the towns of San Luis and City of San Fernando, both in Pampanga recently surrendered a juvenile crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela) and brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in an effort to protect and save the lives of the bird species, environment officials here reported yesterday.
Fred Sadueste, chief of the DENR enforcement division, said that Jayson Ingal, a barangay chief in San Sebastian village in San Luis town turned over the female crested serpent eagle to DENR personnel while Donnie Regala from San Agustin village in the City of San Fernando handed over also the female brahminy kite to authorities in a separate event.
“We are overwhelmed to know that there are still concerned people in our community that help and support us in our campaign to protect and conserve our wildlife species, “ he said.
He said that the bird species, though not listed as endangered or threatened under the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and has a stable population and does not approach the threshold for the vulnerable category, still need protection and conservation,” he explained.
According to Ingal, he found the crested serpent eagle together with his other barangay officials in the backyard their house in San Sebastian, which he described as weak and tired due to the strong heat of the sun. He immediately reported the incident to the DENR regional office in Pampanga through social media.
Meanwhile, Regala, who is a holder of DENR Certificate of Wildlife Registration (CWR) said that he saw the brahminy kite in the hands of four unidentified children playing around it sometime in July of this year. As a bird enthusiast, he immediately rushed to the children and found out that the bird was wounded in the left wing, probably due to a hit from a bullet.
He treated the bird and eventually cared for it for more than three months before surrendering it to the DENR.
The two bird species were brought to Zoocobia Zoo Rescue Center in Clark Free Port Zone in Angeles City, an accredited wildlife center of the DENR, to undergo care and treatment before they are released into the wild.
Francisco Milla, Jr., regional director of the DENR in Central Luzon expressed his sincere appreciation to these citizens for their support in protecting the region’s biodiversity.
“This is the modest contribution that a single citizen can give in the protection and conservation of biodiversity, especially the wildlife species because of its major role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem,” he said.
He also appealed for greater public vigilance among coastal and upland communities, environmental groups and non-government organization to watch out for illegal vending, collection and gathering of wildlife species especially those considered rare, endangered, or nearing extinction.
Ingal and Regala received a certificate of appreciation from the DENR for their unwavering support in the government’s effort to protect and conserve wildlife species.
DENR record shows that since 2016 there are already 20 voluntary turnovers of assorted raptors and other wildlife species such as serpent eagle, reticulated phyton, Philippine long-tailed macaque, crested myna, monitor lizard, grass owl, crested hawk, brahminy kite, fish sea eagle and java sparrow made pets by animal lovers, brought by an intensified information and education campaign in the region.
Since 2016 also, the DENR has retrieved and confiscated a total of 119 assorted birds, reptiles and mammals, which were transported directly to the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Rescue Center in Quezon City and other accredited wildlife centers in the region.
Republic Act 9147, otherwise known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, sets a maximum of 12 years imprisonment or fine of up to P1 million for anyone who collects, hunts, gather and trade wildlife species even destroying of active nests, host plants and the like.