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Attempt to release endemic raptor in Mt. Banahaw failed

CANDELARIA, Quezon – AN attempt to release a rare raptor in Mt. Banahaw by a team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) CALABARZON and its local government counterpart failed, an officer of the project said Thursday.

Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) Salud Pangan of Mts. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape said the wild bird was identified as Philippine eagle-owl, which is endemic to the Philippines.

“I recommended its release kasi una, appetite-wise, okay na siya. Hindi na rin siya dehydrated, at medyo aggressive na siya unlike before na mahina,” said Dr. Anthony Villar, a private veterinarian who took temporary custody of the raptor.

The wild bird was found by the workers of a game fowl farm in San Isidro, Candelaria, Quezon early morning of August 18, 2019.

“After nilang makita, nagtaka sila bakit may ibon na ganun kalaki, tapos nilagay muna namin sa catch pen kasi nakita namin na meron siyang sugat sa right (breast),” Sarah Luneta, the farm owner, detailed.

Luneta said they immediately searched for and contacted the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer (MENRO) of Candelaria, Quezon and the DENR CALABARZON for the rescue of the raptor which they named “Koko”

“On my second visit with Dr. Villar and sir Ramil (Gutierrez of DENR-Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, Tayabas, Quezon), sabi ni doc na medyo dehydrated na ‘yung kwago at medyo nai-infect na ‘yung laceration. So, pumayag si doc na pansamantala sa kanya muna dalhin ‘yung kwago dahil kumpleto naman siya sa facility,” Candelaria MENRO Ryan de Luna narrated.

De Luna said he sought the assistance of a private veterinarian as per advice of the Provincial Veterinarian.

Koko was transferred to the private veterinary clinic on September 3, 2019. Dr. Villar immediately performed the surgery that same night.

Villar said one of the main reasons why he recommended Koko’s release is that he does not want the bird to be in captivity for a longer time so as to prevent it from getting used to people.

De Luna said they selected Mt. Banahaw, Candelaria side as the release site due to its proximity to the location where the bird was found, with the assumption that it may well be thriving in the protected area.

Accompanied by Candelaria Mayor Macario Boonggaling, Municipal Administrator Sherwin Gatdula and Brgy. Masalukot IV Chair Reverend Manalo, the team attempted to release the raptor in the wild, however, failed.

Villar said the bird might have been domesticated long before it was found in Luneta’s farm. He noted also that the bird’s injuries have not yet fully healed.

The raptor will be turned over to the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau ASAP for further rehabilitation.

Villar urged the public, “Kung nakakita kayo ng wild birds sa natural habitat nila, just leave them po.

‘Di natin kailangang kuhanin o pakialaman ang mga ibon sa wild. If they need medical attention like for example, nabaril, napana or anything, call your local MENRO so that they can coordinate with the proper authorities. I-report agad para mabigyan ng karampatang medical assistance ‘yung wild birds.”

Philippine eagle-owl (Bubo philippensis) is classified as Vulnerable as per DENR Administrative Order No. 2004-15, as it is under threat from adverse factors throughout its range and is likely to move to the endangered category in the near future.|-BALIKAS News Network

In Photo: [L-R]Anthony Villar, DVM; For. Ramil Gutierrez, Supervising Ecosystems Management Specialist, DENR-CENRO Tayabas; For. Salud Pangan, Protected Area Superintendent, Mts. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape; Mayor Macario Boonggaling of Candelaria, Quezon