Environmentalists in the Philippines are outraged after a man who shot and ate a rare Philippine Eagle was fined a mere $2,300. There are no more than 250 adult Philippine Eagles alive in the wild, which further convinces local conservationists that the punishment is far too lenient and fails to match the severity of the crime.

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In contravention of the country’s 2001 wildlife law, the 26 year old farmer Bryan Balaon received a fine of 100,000 pesos for shooting the endangered Philippine Eagle – the country’s national bird – in 2008. It was expected that he would receive a harsher punishment as killing an endangered species often results in a jail sentence as well as a fine. Instead, environmentalists describe his meager punishment as nothing more than a “slap on the wrist.”

Speaking to news agency Agence-France Presse, Dennis Salvador, president of the conservation group Philippine Eagle Foundation said that an opportunity had been lost “to send an important message against poachers.” “We find the fine pathetic,” Salvador raged.

Balaon’s crime was not just one against the species, but also one of stupidity. That particular eagle had been reintroduced to the wild in 2006 and had been fitted with a tracking device. As such, officials were able to find the bird’s remains after Balaon had shot it with an air gun and eaten it with friends. Even though it was fitted with a tracker, Balaon claimed that he had not known the bird was endangered and even said he planned to appeal against the verdict in a higher court.

+ Philippine Eagle Foundation

via BBC News

Images: Philippine Eagle, Shutterstock, Wikimedia Commons