THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Zamboanga Peninsula, through the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) of Ramon Magsaysay, Zamboanga del Sur, recently rescued a Philippine Serpent Eagle, locally known as Banog.
Rosevirico Tan, DENR-Zamboanga Peninsula information officer, said the eagle was rescued last week in Kaangayan village, Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur.
Tan said investigation showed that the eagle was caught by John Magbanua in their rice field and took custody of the bird, as the latter requested his neighbor to inform DENR through text message about the captive wildlife.
Tan said initial examination showed the Serpent Eagle was not in good health since its inner right wing was bent and had a trace of old injury.
He said the eagle was also wounded on its left tarsus and the right eye was observed to be partially blind.
He said Susana Magbanua, the mother of John, voluntarily handed over the eagle to the Cenro team during the retrieval.
He said the team informed the elder Magbanua and nearby residents about the existence of a law known as Republic Act 9147, also known as the "Wildlife Resource Conservation and Protection Act," emphasizing that keeping a wildlife without a permit is illegal and it was only right for them to immediately report it to the DENR.
He said the Serpent Eagle was taken to Pagadian City Veterinary Clinic for final examination and treatment by a veterinarian.
The said Philippine Serpent Eagle is now temporarily kept at the provincial Wildlife Rescue Center of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro)-Zamboanga del Sur in Lacupayan village, Tigbao town, for recuperation and proper care, according to Tan.
The Philippine Serpent Eagles are relatively small raptors and are colored brown from above and have a short bushy crest, black crown and throat.
As their name would suggest, they eat snakes and lizards. They are endemic in our country and are mostly found in Luzon and Mindanao.
They are common within their range but threatened by habitat loss despite the fact they are capable of adapting to changing environments than some eagle species.
The Philippine Serpent Eagle is currently listed as Least Concerned by Bird Life International. (SunStar Zamboanga)