DENR urged to revoke permits of 'unfit' carers after ostrich escapade

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DENR urged to revoke permits of 'unfit' carers after ostrich escapade
A screengrab of a video showing an ostrich running along a residential street in Mapayapa Village III in Quezon City.
Screengrab from Dino Rivera via Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — An animal welfare organization called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to enforce tighter measures in granting wildlife permits after two ostriches were seen running inside a subdivision in Quezon City.

Photos and videos of the ostriches running loose Tuesday brought comic relief to Filipinos stuck at home during community quarantines, many of whom compared the incident to movie “Jumanji” or felt a kinship with the large, flightless bird.

But the Philippine Animal Welfare Society said the ostriches were “confused and terrified” and could have easily been injured or could have caused harm when they were captured.

PAWS said the incident shows how loosely permits are given out to people who keep wild animals as pets.

"The fact that the ostriches were running around for as long as they did with no caretaker chasing after them demonstrates that the owner is not capable of effectively controlling the animal or monitoring them," it said.

The organization urged the DENR to revoke wildlife permits issued to “unfit” carers and to implement more stringent screening measures in granting permits.

The DENR issues certificate of wildlife registration to wildlife keepers and owners and legitimize their ownership of wild animals.

Wild animal’s needs

PAWS said a wild animal’s needs can never be sufficiently met by its keepers.

"Ostriches, for instance, aside from a special diet, need at least 1,100 square meters of space and extremely tall fencing to prevent escapes," it said.

Ostriches typically eat plants, roots and seeds. Sometimes, they also eat insects and lizards.

The flightless birds were reportedly owned by a resident whose house was undergoing renovation.

PAWS also noted that animals owned by wildlife permit holders are required to have regular veterinarian checks. 

“However, the ostriches did not appear to be in good health in the videos. Their feathers were covered in grime and there were bald spots on their bodies,” it said.




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