The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is planning to put up wildlife rescue centers at its satellite offices in Batangas and nearby provinces to facilitate rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife species fleeing Taal Volcano.

“We want to bring these centers closer to people who have saved or will rescue wild animals that migrated to communities to escape Taal Volcano’s wrath, so they no longer have to travel to Manila to turnover the species,” DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns and Deputy Spokesperson Benny Antiporda said.

Antiporda issued the statement after receiving a rescued baby Luzon scops owl (Otuslongicornis) at the DENR’s Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon City, which is being managed by the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB).

The baby owl, which was named “Tala,” was rescued by members of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the National Capital Region Police Office while patrolling along the Talisay-Tanauan Road in Batangas City last January 22.

Antiporda lamented that nestlings and other young wildlife species are the most at risk during volcanic eruption since they are unable to fly and travel long distances.

“That’s why putting up rescue centers at strategic DENR field offices near Taal is a must,” he pointed out.

By setting up rescue centers near areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption, Antiporda said the DENR could immediately respond to citizens in custody of rescued wildlife.

He also assured that the DENR is available 24/7 to respond to animal rescue situations through its hotlines and social media accounts.

“The public can reach us through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. They can also call us at pupuntahanponaminsila at ready poang DENR 24/7,” Antiporda said.

Meanwhile, BMB resident veterinarian Glenn Maguad said the rescued baby owl will be released back into the wild when it becomes an adult either at Mount Banahaw or Bataan National Park.

The Luzon scops owl is an owl endemic to Luzon island and is one of the smallest scops owls in the country, measuring only 7 inches. ###