TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – The biodiversity team of First Gen-owned Energy Development Corporation released on Tuesday, November 15, an endangered male Philippine Deer (Rusa Marianna) that had been wounded in the forests of Kananga, Leyte.
Roy Dalaguit, a member of the Tongonan Farmers Association and a community partner of EDC, found the deer with assorted wounds and broken antlers in the Mahiao river on November 7.
The animal had escaped a group engaged in illegal hunting, said Dalaguit.
He immediately contacted EDC BINHI Forester Ronelmar Aquilar, who facilitated the animal’s rescue together with the Ormoc City Veterinary Office and personnel of Palo town’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).
BINHI is EDC’s environmental program that aims to restore denuded forests, preserve and propagate threatened native tree species, and protect Philippine biodiversity.
Dr. Jose Arnel Corong, Ormoc City Veterinarian, said the deer’s wounds came from traps and dog bites.
The deer was placed under the custody of the Ormoc City Wildlife Rescue Center for treatment. After a week of recuperation, Corong pronounced the animal fit for release.
Aguilar and representatives of the CENRO and the Ormoc City Veterinary Office released the deer in the forestlands within EDC’s Tongonan Geothermal Reservation.
The Philippine Deer, called bugsok in Leyte, is an endangered deer species endemic to the Philippines, according to DENR Administrative Order No. 2019-09.
Despite laws protecting endangered species, the population of the Philippine Deer continues to dwindle due to continued habitat loss and illegal hunting.
In June 2021 the barangay chairman of Lanawan, in MacArthur, Leyte turned over two Philippine Deers to the Palo CENRO after members of the Mamanwa Tribe rescued it in May from an awang or a trapping pit.
DENR officials reminded the public to turn over captured or rescued wild animals for proper handling and care.
Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act prohibits and penalizes the exploitation of wildlife species and their habitat.
Persons who hurt or harm animals on the country’s endangered list face imprisonment of four years and one day to six years and/or a fine of P50,000 to P500,000.
“I am thankful to our dedicated team of BINHI foresters and to our community partners, the Tongonan Farmers Association, for their quick response to the plight of this endangered species,” EDC Leyte Corporate Relations head Erwin Magallanes said.
“Protecting and conserving our biodiversity is part of our regenerative mission. I fervently hope that this rescued Philippine Deer stays alive and well in the wild so that it can still be seen by future generations,” he added.
EDC’s over 1,480MW total installed capacity accounts for 20% of the country’s total installed RE capacity. EDC’s Leyte Geothermal facility currently supplies more than 30% of the country’s installed geothermal capacity. – Rappler.com