From the Midwest redneck author of "The Rooster Crows at 4am!," "Lizard Poop!," and "The Philippines Expat Advisor"
Eagle Killer’s Feeble Fine Ruffles Filipinos’ Feathers
A Philippines farmer, Bryan Balaon, 26, shot and ate one of the world's rarest eagles. Conservationists slammed the man's P100,000 ($2,300) fine calling it "pathetic." The guy's "slap on the wrist" was the lowest punishment prescribed by the law. He could have been sentence to a 12-year prison term and a one million peso fine.
To top it off, the man's conviction was the FIRST case brought under this law, the 2001 Wildlife Act. So typical of the Philippines, I thought when I read this. There may be laws on the books and regulations enacted, but the ENFORCEMENT of those laws is an ENTIRELY different matter.
The moron killed the Philippine eagle, or Pithecophaga jefferyi, found only in the country's vanishing forests. As reported in the Gulf Times, it is the world's largest eagle and is critically endangered with just 90-250 pairs left in the wild according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
It was not the first time the bird had fallen into the wrong hands. In 2006 the Philippine government handed the bird to the Philippine Eagle Foundation for rehabiliation after seizing it from a man who had shot it down. The idiot kept is as a caged pet with a shotgun pellet still lodged in its skull.
After rehab the eagle was fitted with a radio transmitter and it was released back into the wild on Mount Kitanglad in the south of the country in March 2008. Four months later the bird was shot dead, cooked and eaten by Balaon. The foundation discovered the crime by tracking the transmitter which was buried at the bottom of a ravine.
Philippine Eagle Foundation president Dennis Salvador stated the following: "The victim is our national bird, our national heritage. I feel that we lost an opportunity here to send an important message against poachers and other people who commit crimes against nature."
I've seen bald eagles soaring and bisons roaming in Yellowstone National Park. I've witnessed bighorn sheep butting heads in Glacier National Park. I've laughed at prairie dogs yelping in South Dakota's Badlands. I have a sincere and deep appreciation for all wildlife.
Here's the closer. If the eagle killer can't pay his fine, he will go to jail. However, the court did not set any deadline for payment! It's more fun in the Philippines? Not if you're an endangered species.