Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the lives of Filipinos for most of this year, we have been somewhat starved of light-hearted news that might just make us laugh if only for a bit. Somehow, that wish was obliged during the first full week of August when a pair of ostriches that were being kept in a Quezon City subdivision got loose from their enclosure and went for a jog on the village streets. But what laughs were had when video of the runaway birds when viral soured upon news that one ostrich had died of extreme stress, even more when one learns of the ostrich’s “final destination.”
CNN Philippines reports that the fate of one of the escapee ostriches that was said to have died after recapture has been revealed. When the ostriches’ caretakers were asked by wildlife authorities to produce the carcass of the bird reported dead of stress on August 4, they were unable to show it. That was because, as revealed to Atty. Charlie Pascual by the birds’ documented owner Jonathan Cruz, his ostrich caretakers have decided to simply cook the ostrich on the evening of its death rather than bury it as instructed.
Atty. Pascual submitted an affidavit on the death of one of the flightless birds to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which issues certificates of wildlife registration to people wishing to keep wild animals in their residences. Jonathan Cruz, upon being informed that one of his ostriches had died, order the caretakers to bury it. But as they told Pascual, they felt the bird’s meat would be wasted, and they had been hungry at the time. Though it later shamed them to report the truth the following day, they did indeed just eat the ostrich after its passing.
While the carcass of the unfortunate viral ostrich, of a species considered the largest living birds in the world, was now in its once-caretakers’ stomachs, they did take photographs of the bird which they gave to the owner, Jonathan Cruz, who submitted them to the DENR as proof of death, according to Undersecretary Benny Antiporda. Given how other viral photos showing how the ostrich was manhandled during its recapture, the stress-induced death was grimly likely. Its luckier companion, by virtue of remaining alive after the ordeal, has already been surrendered to wildlife officials last week.
Image: Esquire PH