Saturday, 16 January 2021

2nd Philippine Eagle rescued in Sarangani

MAASIM, Sarangani (December 14, 2019) – Another Philippine Eagle was rescued in Sarangani Province on December 13, about three years after a juvenile one was found in nearby Maitum town.

The female Philippine Eagle weighing 5.185 kilos was retrieved from Celebes Sea, 100 meters from the shoreline, by a fishing crew in Sitio Dampilan, Barangay Lumatil.

The eagle, reportedly observed to be flying around fishing boats in the area for three days, was rescued by the Kamal family around 2pm on December 13 and immediately reported to Alejandra Sison, municipal environment and natural resources officer of Maasim.

“Based on the initial assessment of our rescue team, the bird is suspected to be an adult female. The closest possible habitat of the bird is at the forests of Mt. Busa in Maasim town,” Dr. Jayson Ybanez, research and conservation director of the Davao City-based Philippine Eagle Foundation, told Sarangani Communications Service.

“As our standard procedure for rescued eagles, the bird will undergo x-ray to see any bone or internal injuries and possible gun pellets embedded inside the bird's body. Blood samples will also be drawn to measure basic blood values, for DNA sexing, and for disease screening,” Ybanez said. “Swabs of bodily fluids will also be drawn to test the bird for avian flu and new castles disease.”

The bird will be kept and rehabilitated at the quarantine facility of the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City, Ybanez added.

Ali Kamal, 75, a resident of Sitio Dampilan narrated that a big bird had been spotted staying at fishing boats until it was rescued at sea when it was unable to fly out.

It turned out the bird was a Philippine Eagle. It was immediately transported by the Philippine Eagle Foundation to its base in Davao City in the early hours of December 14 with the assistance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Environmental Conservation and Protection Center of Sarangani.

“We have talks with DENR to declare the entire Mt. Busa mountain range as protected landscape,” said Atty. Ryan Ramos, chief of staff of Sarangani lone district Rep. Ruel Pacquiao. “Para covered yung area under the ENIPAs (Expanded National Protected Areas System) law para ma protect yung eagle and their habitat.”

On January 2, 2017, a Philippine Eagle was found in barangay Batian of nearby Maitum town which is within Mt. Busa complex, a declared key biodiversity area and an important bird area. It is home to critically endangered, threatened, vulnerable and rare bird species.

The rescued eagle was rushed to the Philippine Eagle Center in Malagos, Calinan. The bird was severely dehydrated, overly thin and with an imbedded pellet from a wound that had healed.

The rehabilitated juvenile Philippine Eagle was freed on January 31, 2017 in Sitio Lahac in the border of barangays Upo and Tuanadatu, Maitum

The eaglet was named Sarangani Pride by Senator Manny Pacquiao.

According to the PEF, the presence of the Philippine Eagle in Sarangani basically shows that “this forest is still pristine and healthy and is worth conserving.”

Mt. Busa consists of 114,000 hectares covering the municipalities of Kiamba, Maitum and also part of Maasim.

However, Mt. Busa is threatened by land conversion (to farmland), kaingin (slash-and-burn), wildlife hunting, illegal logging and mining, according to the ECPC.

Other than Sarangani, there are very few provinces across the country that have good forest cover and harbor eagle populations – Davao Oriental, Davao City, Bukidnon, Zamboanga, and some parts of Lanao. (Serafin N. Ramos Jr./SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)

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