Eagle Week celebration takes off

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Decades of painstaking efforts to conserve the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) seem to be paying off, but the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said more needs to be done to protect its fragile population.

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In line with the observance of the 16th Philippine Eagle Week on June 4 to 10, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje urged the public to help increase awareness on the importance of the charismatic and iconic raptor, which is also known as Haring Ibon or King of Birds.

“Nurturing this unique heritage found only in this part of the world is a gift of the Filipino people to the global community,” Paje said.

Paje said this year would be “extra special” because three new additions to the eagle’s population were recorded in December last year, providing a glimmer of hope for the national bird.

He said DENR Regional Eagle Watch Teams in Regions 9 and 11 discovered one at the Mt. Apo Natural Park in Davao Oriental and reported the birth of two new eagles in Linay, Zamboanga del Norte and Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur, respectively.

“In the midst of government efforts to restore our dwindling forests, the presence of these birds boosts our hope of achieving a thriving forest ecosystem and a constant reminder that wildlife can co-exist harmoniously with humans,” Paje pointed out.

Theresa Mundita Lim, director of DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), lauded government partners whose efforts to help save the Philippine eagle from extinction have been encouraging.

Lim said the most welcome surprise was the recent documentation of a family of three eagles at Mt. Mingan in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija by the Haribon Foundation after a sighting of a juvenile was first reported by a group of botanists in February 2014.

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