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Eastern Grass Owls found nesting in Makilala

Climate Change/Environment • 17:00 PM Sun Mar 26, 2023
Edwin O. Fernandez
Two lovely Eastern Grass Owls engage an eye to eye contact with a DENR personnel filming them in Makilala upland village. (DENR-12 photo)

MAKILALA, North Cotabato – A farmer in a small village here now has two juvenile female Eastern Grass Owl (Tyto longimembris) nesting on the cluster of Arrowhead Plant or Syngonium podophyllum in a his titled farm lot in the town of Makilala.

Afredo Bas, farmer in Barangay Luna Norte in Makilala, North Cotabato, sought the assistance of the village officials and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the handling of owl species found his farm lot on Monday (March 20).

He wanted to bring the owls to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) but afraid he might be arrested for transporting endangered wild life.

PENRO personnel, Barangay chairperon Alfredo Bernadas and Bas, have agreed to let the owls stay  provided the site will be secured and properly identified.

Kadija Bayam-Benpolok, head of DENR 12-Regional Strategic Communication and Initiatives Group, said since the owls were healthy they will no longer be moved to the DENR wildlife rescue center.

“The two owls are healthy so DENR personnel saw it fitting to let them stay where they are nesting,” Benpolok said, adding that the farm owner and village officials fenced the site and placed tarpaulin informing anyone of the wild life residents are there.

“The physiological features of the owlets are generally in good condition and in a safe environment,” Benpolok added.

And in the spirit of “bayanihan,” PENRO Cotabato personnel, village officials and local residents have partnered with Barnadas and Bas in installing bamboo fence to secure the nesting site as it will make the people aware of the presence of wildlife in the area.

Barnadas said residents of Barangay Luna Norte have expressed commitment to the protection and safety of the Eastern Grass Owl and other wildlife species present in the area.

Atty. Felix Alicer, DENR-12 regional executive director, said he was glad the public in the Soccsksargen region have been helping DENR in the wildlife protection.

“Our information campaign about the public’s participation in wildlife protection is paying off,” he said, adding that several wildlife species have been rescued and later freed back to the wild without getting hurt by humans.

The grass owl most common prey are farm rats thus they usually thrive in rodent infested farms. The owl uses its long legs to penetrate thick grass where their prey hide.

Owls sleep during the day and since they are nocturnal they hunt for food at night.

A bird website said owls are not instinctively friendly to humans and are generally intolerant of human company, especially any attempts at being touched, petted and handled in any way.

With that, village officials and DENR personnel fenced the grass owl’s nesting place to prevent human coming closer.

Meanwhile, DENR personnel freed back to the wild three critically endangered “Mindanao Hanging Parrots,” commonly known as “colasisi” on Wednesday (March 22).

Maria Elvira V. Lumayag, PENRO Sarangani, said the wildlife species were turned over to the DENR by the personnel of PNP-Regional Maritime Unit Headquarters in Alabel after it was surrendered by a concerned villager.

Based on the assessment of Dr. Roy O. Mejorada, in-house veterinarian of PENRO Sarangani, the female wild birds are healthy and fit to return to the wild. The hanging parrots were released in Barangay Spring of this town.

DENR’S Updated National List of Threatened Philippine Fauna and their Categories, categorized as critically endangered the “Mindanao Hanging Parrot” which generally refers to species facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future.  

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