DENR offers P100K for any info leading to arrest of Pamana killers
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has put up a P100,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of those responsible for killing “Pamana,” a Philippine eagle.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje made this announcement and expressed grief over the death of Pamana, describing it as a “setback to government efforts to protect the critically endangered raptor.”
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Pamana. Those responsible for this barbaric act must be arrested and punished for committing this environmental crime,” said Paje in a statement.
He added that the government, through the Philippine Eagle Foundation, would continue to pursue its captive breeding program to boost the species’ population despite the Philippine eagle’s death.
The DENR regional office in Davao Oriental, the Protected Area Management Board and the PEF are now conducting a full investigation.
“We are distressed that, despite intensified awareness campaigns by various stakeholders, some people still have a blatant disregard for our natural heritage,” Paje said.
Pamana, a three-year-old female Philippine eagle, was found dead by PEF biologists and forest guards at the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental last Sunday.
A puncture and metal fragment in the right part of the bird’s breast indicated she had died of a gunshot wound.
In a necropsy report, the PEF veterinarian, Dr. Ana Lascano, said the bird was already in an advanced state of decomposition when its carcass was found a kilometer away from where she was released in San Isidro, Davao Oriental.
The estimated date of death was on August 10, when field workers observed that a transmitter attached to her back had stopped sending radio signals.
The Philippine eagle is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are an estimated 400 pairs remaining in the wild.
Paje slammed the killing as he called on local residents and law enforcement units to assist regional environment officials in hunting down the perpetrator.
He cited Republic Act No. 9147, the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, as the law that has been governing the protection given to the Philippine eagle.
Those found guilty of killing wildlife species face six to 12 years imprisonment, with a fine ranging from P100,000 to P1 million.
Illegal hunting within the protected area is also punishable by a six-year jail term and P500,000 fine.
It may be recalled that Pamana was released into the wild only last June 12 after she was treated and rehabilitated for a gunshot wound three years ago.
It was not the first time a Philippine eagle was shot dead. On August 14, 2004, a decomposing body of a female Philippine eagle being monitored by the DENR and PAF was found in Mt. Apo in Davao City.
The bird bore a gunshot wound and a crack at its keel bone. Julie M. Aurelio, Philippine Daily Inquirer
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