DENR National Capital Region, through its South Field Office (SFO), responded to a netizen’s request for retrieval of a young Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) in Muntinlupa City.

The raptor was handed-over by Mrs. Lea Nidoy, a resident of Barangay Putatan, Muntinlupa City on Tuesday, 18 August 2020. She said the bird was caught by her husband after he saw it flying around their residence. She has since then asked the help of her friends in reporting the bird to the DENR National Capital Region as they know that keeping a wild animal without a permit is illegal.

Brahminy Kites are medium-sized birds of prey seen throughout South East Asia, and the northern parts of Australia. The bird feeds mainly on fish and insects, but are known to steal food from other birds. While the population of the bird is declining in the wild, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the bird as Least Concern owing to its wide distribution.

DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan advised the public against capturing any wildlife species. “If the animal looks good and healthy, let it fly or run freely. If the animal is injured, immediately contact the nearest DENR office. Let our veterinarians assess the situation and take the animal in for proper care and rehabilitation”, Director Caancan said. She likewise warned the public on the dangers of handling wild animals. “We simply don’t know if the animal is infected with a disease, so we unnecessarily expose ourselves when we touch or hold them.”—“If there’s anything that this pandemic has taught us to be conscious of, is that zoonosis is real, and can be very fatal”, Director Caancan explained.

Zoonosis refers to diseases that can be passed from animals to humans. Animals, especially those that came from the wild can carry harmful germs such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. These germs, given the right conditions, may be transmitted to humans who unknowingly handle infected animals.

Health experts suspect that the novel coronavirus—which causes COVID-19—may be zoonotic in origin. Other known zoonotic diseases that affected humans are rabies, ebola, Avian Flu (H5N1), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).