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Wildlife species released in Ecija forest

By: Ellalyn V. Ruiz

Seven species of serpent eagle, reticulated python, and pond turtle were successfully released to their natural habitat in Nueva Ecija last Wednesday.

According to Alfredo Collado, head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Nueva Ecija, four species of serpent eagle (Spilornis holospilus), two species of reticulated python (Python reticulatus), and species of pond turtle have been released in the Pantabangan-Carranglan Watershed Forest Reserve after almost five years of captivity at the DENR regional wildlife rescue center in Palayan City.

“The rescue center has been their temporary shelter. The wildlife had undergone care and rehabilitation after being rescued by our wildlife officers under various circumstances. And now they are released back in their natural home,” Collado said.

He cited the importance of releasing wildlife species back into the wild after their captivity to regain their natural instinct by learning to live and hunt on their own.

“The wildlife species were declared fit for release after the diagnosis made by the provincial veterinarian to ensure that they are healthy and free from any form of disease,” he said, noting that the biggest threat to the survival of wildlife is the exploitation of local communities.

Collado appealed to the public to report to the nearest DENR office any suspicious wildlife trading activity, including illegal hunting.

“Let us be vigilant in the protection of our animals. They played a crucial role in human survival and are important part of the ecosystem,” he said.

The DENR also released 12 bramminy kites (Haliastur indus), five monitor lizards (Varanus salvator), and 30 box turtles (Terrapene carolina) at the 62,300-hectare Angat Watershed Forest Reserve in Bulacan. (Ellalyn V. Ruiz)