By Wilmark Amazona, for CNN Philippines
Tacloban City (CNN Philippines, November 5) — Biliran Governor Rogelio Espina is offering a reward of up to P20,000 for anyone who can help identify three men photographed shooting a critically endangered Visayan hornbill.
A post on the Biliran Island’s official Facebook page quoted Espina as saying that the reward would range from ₱5,000 to ₱20,000.
Photos of the poachers as well as the Visayan hornbill were posted by Julius Sabile on social media over the weekend. The poachers were shown using a homemade gun during the incident in a forested area of Libtong village.
Sabile said that he told the men not to shoot the bird but they did not listen to him.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ office in Eastern Visayas said the Visayan Hornbill is one of the identified critically endangered bird species in the country.
It is usually found in the rainforest in the islands of Panay, Negros, Masbate, Guimaras, and Ticao.
The agency added that those found capturing and killing the critically endangered bird could face a jail time of up to 12 years and payment of fine ranging from ₱100,000 to ₱1 million, as mandated under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
In its last assessment. the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species lists the bird as endangered, adding there were only around 1,200 mature individuals in existence.