Eastern Visayas Wildlife Center Cares for 24 Rescued Animals in First Quarter

ORMOC CITY, Philippines — The Eastern Visayas Regional Wildlife and Rescue Center (RWRC) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has taken in 24 animals for care and rehabilitation in the first three months of 2024. These efforts highlight the ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation in the region.

According to Philippines News Agency, among the rescued animals are species slated for rehabilitation or release. In March, six animals were brought in for rehabilitation, and in February, four were successfully reintroduced to their natural habitats. The released animals, which included a reticulated python, two white-eared doves, and a brown booby seabird, were set free in Lake Danao, a favored release site along with Mahagnao Natural Park in Burauen, Leyte. Marquez noted that these locations are protected areas ideal for the reintroduction of wildlife, as they offer a sanctuary free from human disturbances.

The RWRC's intake this quarter also included a monitor lizard, another brown booby, two more white-eared brown doves, and additional reticulated pythons, all turned over by local residents. Some of the animals currently in the care of the RWRC have been there for years; these are typically individuals that are tame or unable to hunt and thus unsuitable for release. "If we release them into the wild, people will easily catch them since they don't know how to avoid predators," Marquez explained, adding that such animals tend to gravitate towards populated areas where they can become nuisances or face dangers.

Particularly challenging has been the reintroduction of monkeys, which due to prolonged domestication, have reverted to seeking food from human dwellings rather than hunting naturally. "We tried to release monkeys into the wild, but they climbed houses and steal food because they are no longer used to hunt food," Marquez said.

The duration of rehabilitation at the RWRC varies depending on each animal's condition upon rescue. Those requiring immediate care are treated by an on-call veterinarian. The facility is equipped with over 20 specialized cages designed to accommodate different species, including snakes, birds, civet cats, and monkeys.

The mission of the DENR-RWRC is to provide care for injured, sick, orphaned, and rescued domesticated wildlife, with the ultimate goal of returning them to their natural habitat once they have sufficiently recovered.