Hope for Davao’s pride, the Philippine eagle

Subscribe Now July 20, 2012 at 03:54pm

The Philippine eagle, also known as the monkey-eating eagle (Scientific name: Pithecophaga jefferyi), is a critically endangered species, and its plight made even more sorry with the lack of state funds. Twenty-five years since its operations, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) has not received any support from the national government, according to its executive director, Dennis Joseph Salvador.

He said, “(T)here were attempts (for the national government to help). But the arrangement was very constricting. There were a lot of conditions, making it difficult for us to operate freely.”

The Davao City local government used to shell out PHP 100,000 (USD 2,391) yearly, five years ago. It increased the amount to the current half a million pesos yearly.

The foundation welcomed the corporate sponsorship of Avida Land, a real estate corporation, in a ceremonial signing of “Adopt an Eagle” memorandum of agreement attended by the media Thursday.

Avida Land adopted the 12-year old eagle ‘Avida,’ formerly named Princess Tupi because of her area of origin. The eagle was captured in Tupi, South Cotabato and had been in the foundation’s facility since 2005.

Salvador said they can’t release Princess Tupi then, because of the injury she suffered. “Also, we’re trying to promote biological diversity within the species. It’s not allowed to inbreed them,” he added.

Twelve of 36 eagles cared for by PEF were up for adoption. Only 300 pairs of Philippine eagles are estimated to remain in the country.

“The preservation of this majestic bird is very crucial. If it becomes extinct, a lot of things will go down the drain as far as the environment is concerned,” said Christopher Maglanoc, Avida Land President.

He added that the “Philippine eagle is a good symbol for what needs to be done for the environment, for our heritage.”

Avida Land gave to the foundation PHP 125,000 (USD 2,989) for the first year of its sponsorship. The amount will be spent on the care, maintenance and monitoring of the nests of eagle chicks, daily feeding, veterinary care and PEF’s other support programs. It will help the PEF to breed Philippine eagles at the sanctuary in this city’s Calinan district.

“Hopefully we can convince them to support for the longer term, three to five years, maybe,” Salvador said.

Indeed, caring for the Philippine eagle requires immediate response and according to Salvador, thus, it will be difficult for them to follow national bureaucracy. “I think that’s one reason why they have to close the raptor center in Los Baños (in Laguna) because they can’t respond to the needs of the birds,” he said.

The PEF staff, according to Salvador, is in the sanctuary 24/7 with practically no holidays, “We are open all throughout the year because we have to attend to the needs of the birds in a daily basis.”

PEF’s Salvador also pointed out the threat of mining saying that “We can’t dedicate all of our lands to mining, because in the end, what’s left for us is barren land, not just for eagles and wildlife but our people as well.”

The Philippine Eagle, a giant forest raptor (or birds of prey), is endemic to the Philippines. It’s found only in Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. It is considered as one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world that feeds on any small to medium-large animals like snakes, birds and a variety of mammals.

Source: davaotoday.com

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