LAOAG CITY -- Residents and wind farm workers in Pagudpud town helped rescue and release an endangered eastern grass owl found in distress by a village resident.
Raymond Sesuca, Corporate Social Responsibility officer of North Luzon Renewables (NLR), released the grass owl at about 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 28, at the Pagudpud wind farm with an existing reforestation project covering about 293 hectares.
Sesuca said a village resident, Rene Castillo of Poblacion 2, Pagudpud town, found the grass owl near a rice field soaked in rainwater and the bird appeared to be weak.
Castillo then brought the owl to the office of Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Jose Morata on Thursday, July 27, for a proper turnover.
When sought for advice, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) suggested that the owl be brought to the wildlife rescue center of the Fort Ilocandia Resort in Laoag City but for fear that the bird might die along the way due to stress, it was decided upon the approval of Pagudpud Mayor Marlon Sales that said owl be released close to its habitat at the grassy portion of the 625-hectare Pagudpud wind farm.
A few years ago, it may be recalled, a rufous hornbill, locally known as "kalaw," was turned over to Fort Ilocandia but unfortunately, it died due to stress.
Unlike other wind farms in other countries where there were claims of huge bird deaths due to the wind blades that chopped birds, Sesuca explained there is no bird sanctuary near the Pagudpud wind farm which makes it safe for high flying birds.
“Majority of our area is grassland and those that we often see are non-flight birds gaya ng pugo (quail), tokling (bard rail) and some low-flying wild birds. So far, we have yet to encounter any bird casualty,” Sesuca said.
For migratory birds, he added, these bird species have established flyways during the migration period, which is not present within the Pagudpud wind farm.
Meanwhile, Sesuca recalled that last year of this same month, a juvenile python was turned over to NLR again for release.
Based on the CSR program of NLR, the company is developing a sanctuary for endemic flora and fauna in the next five to 10 years in Caparispisan village, which is host to at least 27 units of wind turbines, generating about 81 megawatts of clean and renewable energy. (PNA)