THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) immediately released a juvenile barn owl after it was rescued in Bauang town, La Union.
According to Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, officers of the La Union Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO) decided to let the owl back to the wild since it was found healthy and without injuries.
The young raptor was spotted by Gil Elopre, a farmer, on May 10 at a rice field in Brgy. Nagrebcan. He momentarily kept it in his home.
The next day he contacted the DENR Action Center in Quezon City and reported his find.
Action center personnel immediately notified the PENRO of San Fernando. La Union which dispatched a team to Elopre’s residence.
The barn owl measuring 18 centimeters and weighing 2 kilograms was then released in a forested area in Naguilian town the same day it was rescued.
Antiporda commended the La Union PENRO for the prompt rescue operation despite the general community quarantine enforced in the province due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The team’s speedy action is laudable... the DENR, through its field offices, has proven once again its seriousness in fulfilling its mandate to protect and conserve wildlife species even with the pandemic crisis,” he said.
Barn owls, which belong to the Tytonidae family, are widely found in different continents around the world and are known for eating rodents like mice in agricultural lands.
Despite the stable population status of barn owls in the Philippines, the DENR still gives importance to the wildlife species as they contribute to the ecological balance of nature by eradicating pests.
Earlier this month, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu appealed to the public to leave wild animals alone, unless they are sick, orphaned or injured, as reports of their sightings have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.