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UP Diliman Nabs Wildlife Hunter

By Janvic Mateo
UP Diliman nabs wildlife hunter | Metro, News The Philippine Star |
Updated November 12, 2014 - 12:00am

Three unidentified men killed a Black Bittern at the UP Diliman lagoon area

In this Nov. 9, 2014 photo taken by Lu-Ann Bajarias, three unidentified men present a killed black bittern at the lagoon area of University of the Philippines Diliman. The bird is said to be extremely rare to find in campus.

MANILA, Philippines - One of three men who reportedly hunted and killed a rare bird in the University of the Philippines (UP) campus in Diliman, Quezon City was arrested Monday by members of the university's police force.

The unnamed suspect, however, was later released as charges have yet to be filed, UP Diliman vice chancellor for community affairs Nestor Castro said yesterday.

In a statement, Castro said the incident is being investigated by the UP police. He said the suspect was also brought to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources prior to his release.

"We are currently consulting with lawyers and environmental groups for proper legal course of action (following the incident)," the UP official said in Filipino.

"UP is also investigating the security guards assigned at the UP lagoon for possible dereliction of duty," he added.

The investigation report over the arrest of a suspect has yet to be released by the UP police as of yesterday afternoon.

On Sunday, a Facebook post showing photos of three men with a dead black bittern (Dupetor flavicollis) went viral on the Internet, causing an uproar among netizens who criticized what they dubbed as "wildlife hunting" inside the UP campus.

The photos were posted by Wild Bird Club of the Philippines founding member Amado Bajarias Jr., who along with his wife Lu-Ann Fuentes Bajarias saw the three men beat the bird to death with a piece of wood and a jungle bolo at the lagoon.

"Why a man openly carrying a jungle bolo is allowed to walk around in campus is something that UP's officials should ask its security force," Bajarias said.

He said the bittern may have been incapacitated or exhausted from a long trip. "This species is usually very wary of humans and would have flown away at the first hint of danger," he said.

University officials condemned the incident and maintained that hunting is not allowed within the university, one of the few places in Metro Manila that serves as a nesting ground for migratory and endemic bird species, including those that are classified as threatened and endangered.