CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- Concerned citizens in the town of San Luis and City of San Fernando, both in Pampanga, have surrendered two bird species to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Fred Sadueste, chief of the DENR enforcement division, said Thursday that Jayson Ingal, barangay chief of San Sebastian village in San Luis town, turned over a female crested serpent eagle to DENR personnel, while Donnie Regala from San Agustin village in the City of San Fernando also handed over a female brahminy kite to authorities.  

“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.

According to Sadueste, the bird species, though not listed as endangered or threatened under the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), still need protection and conservation.

He said that Ingal found the crested serpent eagle together with other barangay officials in the backyard of their house in San Sebastian. He described the bird as weak and tired, possibly 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 being played with by four children.

As a bird enthusiast, he said he took hold of it and found out that the bird was wounded in its left wing, probably hit by a bullet.

Regala said he treated and cared for it before surrendering the bird 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 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 organizations against 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 support in the government’s effort to protect and conserve wildlife species.  

DENR record shows that since 2016, already turned over to them were 20 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, believed to be due to an intensified information and education campaign in the region.  

The DENR has also 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 since 2016.

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 PHP1 million to anyone who collects, hunts, gathers and trades wildlife species, or even destroys active nests, host plants and the like. (PNA)