Some 189 native birds were rescued from being sold at a local market in Baliuag, Bulacan, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said.
The DENR’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Baliuag seized the birds at the town’s Pagala market. The birds were worth P18,000 and were reportedly poached in the nearby town of Candaba, Pampanga.
CENRO authorities spotted an unidentified man selling 129 uwis or common moorhen birds, and 60 tikling or buff-barred rail birds at the Pagala market, the DENR said.
The agency added that the man took off immediately upon seeing the authorities. They discovered that the birds were being sold at P100 for every three-piece bundle.
Environment authorities released the birds back into the wild at a nearby rice field.
The DENR-CENRO and local Baliuag police are currently investigating the alleged illegal wildlife trade happening in the town.
According to the DENR, the 32,000-hectare Candaba swamp is an important wetland area in the country as it hosts an average of 7,000 migratory birds every year from areas such as Siberia, Japan, China and New Zealand who arrive in the country from October to March.
While the International Union for Conservation lists the common moorhen in the “least concern” category, the specie is considered endangered in parts of Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Meanwhile, the buff-barred rail remains abundant in the Philippines and in Indonesia.