The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has condemned the killing of the mother eagle of a family of Philippine eagles that was found dead in Mount Apo in Davao City on Saturday morning, leaving a seven-month old eaglet behind.
Upon learning of the eagle’s death, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje immediately ordered regional environment officials in Davao City to investigate the incident and to seek the assistance of the police and the local government in tracking down the perpetrator and cause the filing of appropriate criminal charges.
“We are appalled by this awful news. It is sad to think that while we are trying to save the endangered Philippine eagle from extinction, there are those who are undermining our conservation efforts,” Paje said.
According to him, the eagle, which had apparently been felled by a bullet, was among those being monitored by the DENR and the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) for years.
In a report by the PEF, the decomposing body of the Philippine eagle was retrieved last August 14 at Barangay Kapatagan, outside the protection area 10 kilometers away from the eagle’s nesting site in Sitio Mitondo, Sibulan, Davao City. The eagle bore a crack at its keel bone, raising suspicion that the bird was shot and killed.
The report also indicated that the mother eagle left a seven-month-old hatchling, prompting the DENR chief to commit a fund assistance to ensure the survival of the young eagle.
The Biodiversity Management Bureau with the PEF will administer supplemental feeding of the young eagle as it is now only being fed by the father.
Meanwhile, Paje urged the Protected Area Management Board of Mount Apo to institute stricter measures to prevent a repeat of the incident.
He also directed the DENR regional office to conduct a massive information campaign in the area.
The Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) also known as the monkey-eating eagle, is considered as one of the biggest, rarest and most powerful birds in the world—the reason why it has been declared the country’s national bird.
It is critically endangered, mainly due to massive loss of habitat caused by deforestation in most of its ranges.
Hunting and killing of the Philippine eagle is punishable under Republic Act 6147, or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, by 12 years in jail and heavy fines.