UP alumni condemn locals for bird killing
Patricia Lourdes Viray (The Philippine Star) - November 17, 2014 - 5:47pm

MANILA, Philippines - Bird watching enthusiasts Lu-Ann Bajarias and her husband, Amado, stood firm  on their statement that the three men they saw were involved in killing a black bittern bird in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus.

"Lu-Ann and I are not surprised that the men deny killing the bittern," Amado said on a Facebook post.

UP Diliman Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Nestor Castro and UP Chief Security Officer John Beroña invited the couple to give their statement regarding the incident on Friday.


According to the statement, three men were seen walking on a west-to-east direction in the lagoon while looking and poking at the mud, as if foraging for anything edible.

"Nothing in their behavior or demeanor indicated to us that they were engaged in scientific research or any expertise in wildlife rescue," the statement said.

Amado and Lu-Ann, who are founding members of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, said they continued walking when they heard a commotion which caught their attention.

"First, there was a short chase, followed by loud whacks. That commotion was what drew our attention to what the men were doing. If the bird was already dead, why would they need to chase it and hit it repeatedly?" Amado said on a Facebook post.

The couple recounted the incident on how the three men chased something with a long piece of wood as they heard more sounds of something being hit.

"The man who struck the first blow bent down, picked whatever it was and turned around so that he was facing our direction. He was holding a dark bird. The bird was not moving," the statement said.

Amado noted that he and Lu-Ann walked toward the three men and asked the man holding the bird, "Pinatay n'yo?"

"Oo, pero may sugat na," the man replied.

The witnesses also noticed a thin man with a pony tail sitting on one of the concrete tables in a lagoon who took photos of the incident using his camera phone.

Lu-Ann asked the pony-tailed man, "Pinatay nila, nakita mo di ba?" to which the man replied yes, according to their statement.

The said pony-tailed man recognized the bird as a Black Bittern, which Amado confirmed, a species described as "uncommon" in the bool "A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines". Amado noted seeing the kind of bird before in Candaba, Pampanga but never in the UP campus.

The couple said that as they were walking away from the lagoon, they saw two roving guards on a bicycle and Lu-Ann called them to show their photos of the slain bird and told them what happened.

During their meeting, Amado and Lu-Ann discussed with Castro, Beroña and Villaluna the safety issues of the UP campus for both people and wildlife. The authorities stated that there is a need to educate residents near the campus about the Wildlife Act.

"This protection is not just for "protected" or "endangered" animals, but for all animals. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources should help them regarding this," Amado said.

The bird enthusiasts thanked the concerned officials for giving them the opportunity to voice out their side, as well as UP Haring Ibon and UP Diliman University Student Council for their immediate response regarding the issue.

RELATED: Wildlife hunting in UP Diliman irks alumni

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