DENR National Capital Region, through its East Field Office (EFO), successfully retrieved a Visayan tarictic hornbill (Penelopides panini) in Pasig City on Monday, 17 August 2020.

An informant reported the presence of the bird to the EFO which immediately dispatched a team for the retrieval operation. The team tracked the location of the bird in Barangay Malinao, Pasig City, and was able to retrieve it.

The Visayan tarictic hornbill is a type of bird found only in the Philippines—particularly in the islands of Negros, Panay, and Masbate.  It is listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, while DENR Administrative Order No. 2019-09 puts it under the “Critically Endangered” category. Of the 55 recognized hornbill species in the world, eleven (11) are found only in the Philippines. Nine (9) of which, however, are in danger of going extinct due to habitat loss.

A subspecies of the bird—the Ticao hornbill (P. p. ticaensis)—was declared extinct in 2013 after it disappeared completely from the island with the same name. Apart from habitat loss, hornbills are victims of poaching and hunting as these birds are preferred by illegal wildlife keepers. The bird was brought to the Wildlife Rescue Center of DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau in Quezon City for rehabilitation and possible release back in the wild.