Protection of local eagle urged

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BAGUIO CITY: The first active Philippine eagle nest in Luzon is in the province of Apayao, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) confirmed.

With this announcement, Apayao Gov. Elias Bulut Jr. called on residents to help protect the Philippine eagle, including the preservation of its habitat.

The discovery of the Philippine eagle and the protection and conservation of the remaining forests in the region, particularly in Apayao, was the focus of a biodiversity forum during the 28th Cordillera Month celebration here recently.

Jayson Ibanez, PEF Foundation Director for Research and Conservation, said PEF biologists and Isnag research assistants in the lush lowland forests of Apayao in the Cordillera located the first Philippine Eagle nest in Luzon on April 24, 2015.

Ibanez said the nest search was not easy. “Finding the elusive nest involved a total of 3,456 hours of observations, which is equivalent to watching television 24/7 for over three months straight. Fieldwork spanned five years in rugged and remote jungles. In the field, observers spent time mostly on platforms atop trees, scanning ridges and valleys for the highly secretive national bird,” he added.

He said there are three reasons that make the nest discovery important in the province of Apayao.

He added that this active nest allows a detailed study of the behavior of eagles in Luzon. The island’s flora and fauna and its climate pattern are very different from the other three islands – Leyte, Samar and Mindanao – where eagles are also found.

Secondly, the nest is the eagle’s center of activity. For a bird that occupies a large territory, it is only when eagles breed that one can carry out a focused and detailed study of its behavior and food needs.

Ibanez said the eagles use the same set of nests repeatedly. Maintaining the health and integrity of nest sites, therefore, ensure the survival of their species.

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