January 1, 2019


On Tuesday, New Year’s Day, Facebook user Kim Marjorie sent a frantic message to DENR National Capital Region’s Facebook page. She said that an owl suddenly flew inside their car as they were on their way home from a trip to a mall in Pasay City.

Fearing that the owl might be an “endangered species”, she immediately thought of surrendering the bird to DENR for treatment and rehabilitation. They were advised to wait for the assistance of a trained animal handler to recover the owl. In the meantime, her family took care of the bird and tried nursing it back to health.

The owl turned out to be a Brown Hawk Owl (Ninox scutulata). Though categorized as a species of Least Concern (LC) by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), its population nonetheless is decreasing in the wild due to habitat destruction.

Brown Hawk Owls are known for their brown facial disc, with many narrow whitish radially orientated streaks. Its eyes are bright yellow and have a narrow dark area around them. It grows from 27 to 33cm tall, with males tending to be larger than females. A nocturnal bird-of-prey, Brown Hawk Owl’s diet consists of large insects such as beetles and grasshoppers, and small animals like frogs, lizards, mice, other birds, and occasionally small insectivorous bats or crabs. The bird is widely distributed throughout the Indian subcontinent, east Siberia and Japan, Malay Peninsula, Great and Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi, Moluccas, Taiwan and Philippines.

While the bird is not endangered (thankfully!), it was well that Ms. Kim deemed the bird as better off in the hands of wildlife experts for proper evaluation and care. DENR has long been encouraging the public to help in the protection and preservation of the country’s rich flora and fauna, most especially those found in the wild.  

Republic Act 9147, otherwise known as the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001” considers as illegal and punishable fines and imprisonment the willful exploitation of wildlife resources and their habitats. These would include “killing”, “destruction”, or “injuring” wildlife species; “collecting, hunting or possession” of wildlife, their by-products and derivatives, and transport of wildlife without the necessary permits among others. Violators could face a fine of up to P500,000 and maximum jail term of six years.

DENR seeks the help of the public by reporting those believed involved illegal wildlife trade and other violations of RA 9147. Those living in Metro Manila who want to report or surrender illegally kept wild animals may call DENR’s Wildlife Rescue Center (WRC) at (02) 9246031 to 35, local 239 or 245.