Video of a poor ostrich's failed sprint to freedom went viral this week stirring conversation among millions who are under strict COVID-19 quarantine. Questions abound—where did it come from? More importantly, is it legal to keep a pet ostrich in your home?
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said yes, as long as you have the papers and know-how to back it up. “Generally, keeping wildlife is allowed and is legal as long as the provisions of Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, are satisfied,” DENR said.
The DENR told GMA News Online on Wednesday that, on top of proper documents, owners must have the financial and technical ability to take care of ostriches. A proper facility to house the animal is also required.
But know that potential owners are prohibited from obtaining an ostrich via illegal acts such as collecting, hunting or possessing wildlife, their by-products and derivatives, as stated in Section 27 of the law.
The DENR, however, said “it is not common, the practice, the interest, or concern of subdivisions to allow wildlife in their facilities for reasons of keeping their facilities clean and healthy.”
If you are keen on keeping an ostrich in your home, the DENR can issue a Certificate of Wildlife Registration. Owners based in Metro Manila can get this certificate from the Wildlife Resources Permitting Section at the DENR-NCR. Those living outside the capital region can get a certificate from their province’s Wildlife Resources Permitting Section.
More videos and photos of the ostrich popped up Tuesday, revealing that there were actually two flightless birds running free. One video showed an ostrich’s attempt to escape through the subdivision gate, only to be barred by a security guard as the animal had no gate pass. It is still not clear where the ostriches came from.