One of the two ostriches seen inside a Quezon City subdivision last week died due to stress, while the other bird was turned over to a government animal shelter, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The ostriches became viral on social media as the public found amusement over the huge flightless birds running loose inside Mapayapa Village III in Diliman on Tuesday.

Jonathan Cruz, who claimed to be the owner of the birds, told authorities at the Wildlife Rescue Center (WRC) that he was cleaning the birds’ enclosures on Tuesday morning when they escaped through the gate.

He brought the second ostrich to WRC at Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center on Friday afternoon, according to Dr. Esteven Toledo, a veterinarian with the Biodiversity Management Bureau. The nine-month-old female ostrich was in good health, said Toledo.

DENR Usec. Benny Antiporda stated on Saturday that Cruz then told them that the other ostrich died due to stress, but Antiporda said they would still launch an investigation on the matter.

“Pero di po agad maniniwala ang DENR, unless makita natin yung bangkay noong ostrich,” he said.

Antiporda said DENR is clueless as to why the birds were running loose inside the Mapayapa Village, when the owner lives in Barangay Balingasa, which is about 13 kilometers away.

According to the documents presented by Cruz, there were originally 12 birds – five males and seven females – that were shipped from a registered ostrich breeder in Opol town, Misamis Oriental province, to a certain Edwin Jara in Nueva Ecija province in October 2019 when they were just three weeks old for “propagation purposes.”

Now, DENR is not sure whether any of the ostriches made it to the Nueva Ecija province, or they are somewhere else. There are also no registered ostrich farm in Nueva Ecija province. They are also clueless as to why the ostriches were in Quezon City when Cruz does not have any transport permit.

Cruz may face charges of illegal trading, possession, and transport of wildlife

“But since there’s a show of good faith through surrendering the remaining ostrich, we would be giving them opportunity to explain… so they could say what they want to tell. Rest assured that the welfare of the bird will be given value,” Antiporda added.

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