By Elallyn de Vera Ruiz
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is looking at the possible establishment of wildlife rescue centers at its satellite offices in Batangas and nearby provinces to facilitate the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife species that have fled after Taal Volcano’s eruption.
“We want to bring these centers closer to people who have saved or will rescue wild animals that migrated to communities to escape Taal Volcano’s wrath, so they no longer have to travel to Manila to turn over the species,” DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said during the turnover of a rescued baby Luzon scops owl or Otus longicornis at the DENR’s Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon City last Thursday.
He pointed out that nestlings and other young wildlife species are the most at risk during volcanic eruption since they are unable to fly and travel long distances.
By setting up rescue centers near areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption, Antiporda said the DENR could immediately respond to citizens in custody of rescued wildlife.
He also assured that the DENR is available 24/7 to respond to animal rescue situations through its hotlines and social media accounts.
“The public can reach us through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. They can also call us and we will go to them. The DENR is ready 24/7,” Antiporda said.
Meanwhile, DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau resident veterinarian Glenn Maguad said a rescued baby owl last week will be released back into the wild when it becomes an adult. It will be released either at Mount Banahaw or Bataan National Park.
The Luzon scops owl is an owl endemic to Luzon island and is one of the smallest scops owls in the country, measuring only 7 inches.