I returned home yesterday from a Philippines birding trip. This was very
successful in regard to the birds we saw, however in Mindanao we encountered
a problem in a supposedly safe area in the north of the island, on Mt
Kitanglad. It appears that the army mistook our party for a group of NPA
guerrillas that they were pursuing through the mountain forest. The article
in the attached url gives an outline of what occurred.
Our party was comprised of 3 Danish birders, 2 British and a British guide,
myself plus our local guide and one of his sons.
The local guide Carlito was severely wounded when he was shot in the left
arm , not right arm as it states in the article, he has undergone surgery in
nearby Cagayan de Oro, and is now recovering. He will need ongoing surgery
for a shattered arm, and the army is taking care of his needs.
Carlito is a well known bird guide in the area and runs the lodge on Mt
Kitanglad, the only accommodation in the area. We were there to see
Philippine eagle, this was our second day in that particular site, very near
the eagle viewing location. It is a shame that Carlito has, at least for the
moment, lost his livelihood and good health, and birders who have seen him
finding and identifying birds on Mt Kitanglad will be very concerned about
his situation. The immediate future of birding on the mountain is probably
doubtful as well.
I will be keeping in contact in with people in the Philippineswho can tell
me and the other birders in the group how Carlito is progressing.
We all decided to continue on our scheduled 5 day trip to Palawan after the
incident, it was a good decision, we were able to discuss what had happened
and work ourselves through the detail, to debrief a lot with people who had
been through the same experience. It was very bonding for all of us.
The birds and scenery in Palawan were also nice, it helped end the trip on a
more positive note. No eagle though!
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