The Iwahig Corrections Facility on Monday turned over to the government’s wildlife rescue facility a live Palawan peacock pheasant, the bird that has been adopted as the official symbol of Puerto Princesa City, that was captured from the wild by an inmate inside the prison’s forested property.
The Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC) received the animal from ICF Supt. Raul Levita, who said that the bird was captured by an inmate of the Iwahig sub-colony who was going to give it away as a gift to one of their employees.
“Parang ibibigay ata ng PDL (persons deprived of liberty) sa empleyado tapos sinabi ng empleyado sa akin na ‘Sir, hindi ba bawal ito? Isauli na lang natin’. Pagdating sa conservation, tayo ay info drive lang dahil aksidente lang naman nakikita natin, pagdating sa panghuhuli ay hindi namin kakayanin dahil sa laki ng area,” he said.
PWRCC technical services department officer-in-charge Dong Guion said it was only the second time that they have received such species, which is only found in Palawan and is classified as a vulnerable species due to its decreasing population.
“Ngayong taon ay parang twice lang (nakapag-turn over ng ibon) pagkakatanda ko unlike sa other species na turtles, monkeys. Hayaan lang nila, huwag nila hulihin. Kung may makita sila na nanghihina, may chance kasi na nabangga ‘yon ng mga sasakyan. Dalhin nila sa tamang awtoridad para makarating dito sa rescue center,” he said.
Guion added that habitat destruction, personal consumption, and trading are the usual factors why the population of some wildlife species is decreasing.
The bird was in a healthy condition and had no injury, according to the assessment of the rescue center veterinarian.
“Kapag naging maayos naman ang kalagayan ng hayop ay ibabalik din ito sa wild, ang panawagan na lang rescue center ay alagaan, huwag saktan at patayin dahil ang mga ganitong hayop ay threatened na ang kanilang status,” Guion said.
According to Facebook post of Indira Dayang Lacerna-Widdman, Katala Foundation Inc. (KFI) chief operations officer, the turned-over Palawan peacock pheasant is as a male “tandikan”.
She added that the ICF holds intact lowland forests within Palawan “that harbor the complete endemic lowland bird community such as the tandikan, Palawan hornbill, and blue-headed racquet tail”.
It can be recalled that ICF also turned over a young blue-headed racquet tail or “kilit-kilit” in July to PWRCC which was commended by the rescue center.