Wednesday, 04 January 2017 00:00

Philippine Eagle rescued in Sarangani

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 4, 2017) – A Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), the country’s national bird, has been found alive in the forest of Barangay Batian prompting the local government unit (LGU) of Maitum to mount a rescue operation to protect the bird and its habitat.

LGU staff and personnel of the Davao City-based Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) brought the raptor to the PEC Tuesday night (January 3).

“I am thankful with the rescue of the juvenile Philippine Eagle. This only proves that Maitum has still thick forest that we ought to preserve and protect,” said Mayor Alexander Bryan Reganit. “I will do my best to protect the endangered species of Maitum as our legacy to the future generations.”

Gibson Badal, 26, a resident of Barangay Batian, found the eagle Monday (January 2). According to Badal, he saw the bird at his area standing and when he got near to it, the bird did not move away. Badal said the bird, which is about a meter tall, appeared weak. The bird has blue gray eyes.

Alver Caasi who happened to visit Batian on Monday was informed by residents that they were selling the bird but he advised them not to. “I told them they will face the full force of the law if they do that,” Caasi said.

Caasi said he saw the bird at 9am and fed it with live chicken. The eagle consumed half of it and the other half was eaten the next day.

Edgar Calderon, park maintenance foreman of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, said the eagle could be one year old with a nest probably within a 5-km radius from where it was found.

"From the initial video and pictures sent to us by Carol Arguillas, which was sent to her by Beth Ramos, the bird is confirmed a Philippine Eagle,” said Dennis Joseph Salvador, executive director at Philippine Eagle Center.

According to Philippine Eagle Foundation director for conservation Jayson Ibanez, he visited Batian in 1996 and he was able to confirm the presence of a pair of Philippine Eagles.

Barangay Batian is within Mt. Busa complex, a priority conservation and protection biodiversity study area. It is one of the remaining forests in the province.

Mt. Busa (Area: 114,144 hectares) was declared as a key biodiversity area (KBA 116) and an important bird area (IBA PH0105) in 2001. It harbors critically endangered, threatened, vulnerable and rare bird species and connects several conservation priorities.

The Environmental Conservation and Protection Center of the provincial government has reported sightings of tarsier, wild deer, pigs, monkeys, bats, civets and endangered species of birds at the foot of Mt. Busa.

However, Mt Busa, which straddles the towns of Maitum, Kiamba and Maasim, is threatened by land conversion (to farmland), kaingin (slash-and-burn), wildlife hunting, illegal logging and mining, according to the ECPC. (Beth N. Ramos /MAITUM INFORMATION OFFICE)

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