TACLOBAN CITY, March 3 (PNA) -– The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has inaugurated on Thursday its new Regional and Wildlife and Rescue Center to quarantine and care for confiscated and abandoned wild animals.

Located inside the compound of the Leyte Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in this city, the first wildlife rescue center has opened in time with the World Wildlife Day commemoration on March 3.

DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations Demetrio Ignacio, Jr. said the facility will step up the protection of wildlife in the Eastern Visayas especially that “Region 8 is one of the mega diverse region in the country.”

“We will continue to upgrade this center by putting up a laboratory and hire veterinarians to care for animals while in captivity,” Ignacio said.

DENR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Leonardo Sibbaluca said taking care of wild animals is just temporary since healthy animals will be released back to their natural habitat.

“The center will also be opened for educational tours because children only see these wild animals on books,” Sibbaluca said.

Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla vowed to support the operation of the center, saying that the inauguration “could be a good start” for wildlife protection in the region.

The establishment of the said facility is pursuant to Section 32 of Republic Act No. 9147 otherwise known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

The DENR considered relocating the wildlife rescue center to an area closer to the DENR regional office after super typhoon Yolanda destroyed the facility in Babatngon town. (PNA) PGL/SARWELL Q. MENIANO