Last June 12, Independence Day, Philippine Eagle Pamana, the 3-year-old female released inside a Unesco heritage site at Mt. Hamiguitan Range in San Isidro, Davao Oriental province.
- Two months after the release, Philippine Eagle PAMANA was found dead a kilometer away from where she took her flight to freedom.
Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) biologists and local forest guards found the remains of Philippine Eagle PAMANA, still with its tracking device, near a creek in the Hamiguitan mountain range in Davao Oriental last Sunday. The PEF biologists and local forest guards found the eagle, already in an advanced state of decomposition, near a creek on Aug. 16.
Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon said she had ordered the provincial police to conduct a thorough investigation and go after the culprits. Metal fragments recovered inside the body of Pamana indicated that she could have been shot with an airgun.
According to Rochelle Regodon of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), “Shooting animals in the wild is a coward’s pastime. Hunters use animals as mere targets and they lack empathy, understanding and respect for living creatures. PETA condemns this act of cruelty.”
A necropsy report proved that Philippine Eagle PAMANA was shot with a 5 mm bullet, more commonly used for air guns, on the right chest. She also suffered superficial wounds.
PEF executive director Dennis Salvador said, “It is really sad how people completely disregard the importance of the Philippine Eagle to our environment. We have worked so hard for people to understand the whole system and still there are those who kill these birds.”
Killing critically endangered Philippine species is punishable by up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to one million pesos. Salvador said the foundation would press charges once the eagle’s killer was found. TV personality Kim Atienza has also offered a reward to anyone with information.
The Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), also known as the monkey-eating eagle or great Philippine eagle, is an eagle of the family Accipitridae endemic to forests in the Philippines. It has brown and white-coloured plumage, and a shaggy crest, and generally measures 86 to 102cm (2.82 to 3.35ft) in length and weighs 4.7 to 8.0 kilograms (10.4 to 17.6lb). It is considered the largest of the extant eagles in the world in terms of length and wing surface, with the Steller’s sea eagle and the harpy eagle being larger in terms of weight and bulk. Among the rarest and most powerful birds in the world, it has been declared the Philippine national bird. It iscritically endangered, mainly due to massive loss of habitat due to deforestation in most of its range. Killing a Philippine eagle is punishable under Philippine law by 12 years in jail and heavy fines.
The Philippine eagle’s nape is adorned with long, brown feathers that form a shaggy crest. These feathers give it the appearance of possessing a lion’s mane, which in turn resembles the mythical griffin. The eagle has a dark face and a creamy-brown nape and crown. The back of the Philippine eagle is dark brown, while the underside and underwings are white. The heavy legs are yellow, with large, powerful dark claws, and the prominent large, high-arched, deep beak is a bluish-gray. The eagle’s eyes are blue-gray. Juveniles are similar to adults except their upperpart feathers have pale fringes.
The Philippine eagle is endemic to the Philippines and can be found on four major islands: eastern Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao. The largest number of eagles reside on Mindanao, with between 82 and 233 breeding pairs. Only six pairs are found on Samar, two on Leyte, and a few on Luzon. It can be found in Northern Sierra Madre National Park on Luzon and Mount Apo, Mount Malindang and Mount Kitanglad National Parks on Mindanao.
This eagle is found in dipterocarp and mid-montane forests, particularly in steep areas. Its elevation ranges from the lowlands to mountains of over 1,800 metres (5,900 ft). Only an estimated 9,220km (2,280,000 acres) of old-growth forest remain in the bird’s range. However, its total estimated range is about 146,000km(56,000sqmi).
In 2010, the IUCN and Bird Life International listed this species as critically endangered. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature believes between 180 and 500 Philippine eagles survive in the Philippines. They are threatened primarily by deforestation through logging and expanding agriculture. Old-growth forest is being lost at a high rate, and most of the forest in the lowlands is owned by logging companies. Mining, pollution, exposure to pesticides that affect breeding, and poaching are also major threat. Additionally, they are occasionally caught in traps laid by local people for deer. Though this is no longer a major problem, the eagle’s numbers were also reduced by being captured for zoos.IMAGE/wikipedia