CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga: A critically endangered Philippine eagle was turned over to the care of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office here after it was rescued by an upland farmer in a forest area in San Luis, Aurora province.
Joey Blanco, the DENR provincial chief in Aurora, said that the juvenile raptor was found by Eugene Nace last week in a trap locally known as a “silo”, which is a type of snare used to catch monkeys.
“The eagle was found inside the forests of Aurora Memorial National Park (AMNP) known for its rich biodiversity. One of the eagle’s claws was trapped in the ‘silo’ but the wildlife sustained no serious injuries in the ordeal,” Blanco said.
According to biodiversity experts, sightings of Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) were once reported in the Sierra Madre mountain part of Aurora and the capture of one confirms the existence of the rare bird in the region.
“The Philippine eagle is endemic to the country and it is known to live in areas of Eastern Luzon, Samar and Leyte while Mindanao supports the bulk of the population,” said Fred Sadueste, chief of the DENR Wildlife Enforcement Division.
He said that the intensified information, education and communications (IEC) campaign of the DENR has led to an increased awareness of people of the value of wildlife and the proper course of action when finding or capturing such, which is to call the attention of the concerned agency.
“We are planning to train more wildlife enforcement officers and deputize more locals to ensure the protection of wildlife in the Sierra Madre mountain range and in the rest of Central Luzon,” he said.
Francisco Milla, Jr., DENR regional director in Central Luzon, said the rescue of the Philippine eagle is very timely since this month, the DENR and the whole country is celebrating the Philippine Environment Month while last June 5 of this year the whole world celebrated the World Environment Day.
Research studies also show that in Mindanao, the Philippine eagle prey on flying lemurs (Cynocephalus volans), which are absent in Luzon, where the bird was found to prey on two endemic species of cloud rats, monkeys, monitor lizards, birds, palm civets bats and snakes.
The rescued raptor is now under the custody of the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau where it will be cared for until it is fit to be released back into the wild.