Denied access to ostriches, DENR mulls legal action

Published August 6, 2020, 7:05 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is mulling to take legal action if its personnel will continue to be denied access to the ostriches that were seen running loose in a Quezon City village.

Undersecretary Benny Antiporda on Thursday said a technical and medical team from the DENR-National Capital Region (NCR) and Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) immediately proceeded to the subdivision the day the ostriches were spotted in a viral video.

“Apparently, they were denied access to the village/subdivision by the guards. As of this moment, the team is again in the area to coordinate with the subdivision’s HOA (homeowners’ association) and LGU (local government unit) to investigate and get details on the matter,” he said.

Antiporda said the team was also expected to conduct regular inspection and monitoring of wildlife permittees in the village concerned.

“In case we will be denied access (by the owner of the ostriches), then we will be constrained to explore legal action and to deal with the matter accordingly,” he pointed out.

Antiporda however said the  DENR-NCR and BMB team is  still determining who is the real owner or caretaker of the ostriches because they found out that the cage was located in a vacant lot inside the subdivision.

On Thursday, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society also called on the DENR to revoke the wildlife permits of those who are clearly unfit to care for wild animals noting that the ostriches “did not appear to be in good health in the videos.”

Their feathers were covered in grime and there were bald spots on their bodies, the group said.

PAWS also asked the DENR to enforce stricter screening measures in granting wildlife permits.