PALAWAN – Wildlife conservation officers rescued a Spotted Wood Owl in the East Central School in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on Thursday, after it was hurt in a student's attempt to capture it.
Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC) personnel retrieved the rare owl and brought it to the rescue center for examination, where it will remain until it is safe to be released back into the wild.
The PWRCC was initially called by Helen Salboro, principal of the East Central School, to see if they can move the rare bird as they feared that students might hurt it.
The owl had been causing a stir among the students, Salboro said, as they had heard it hooting every sunset for some time, and another owl hooting in response. It has also been seen transferring from tree to tree in the school grounds.
The owl may have settled in the school because of the abundance of worms and insects in the area, the PWRCC said.
According to PWRCC, the Spotted Wood Owl (Strix seloputo) is classified as a threatened species, and can be found in Borneo, Calamian Islands, and Palawan.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature said that the owl’s population is stable, but retained it in its Red List of Threatened Species, as its population in different areas “is reported to vary from uncommon to common” based on a 1999 study.
PWRCC personnel decided not to move the owl because it was healthy and did not seem to be in any danger. However, one student tried to catch it as the officers were about to leave.
The wildlife conservation officials reminded residents that attempting to catch wildlife in their natural habitat is considered a violation of Republic Act 9147, or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.