Largest eagle in the world lives in the ancestral land of Lake Sebu's lumads

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It is rare that one comes face to face with the most ferocious and piercing eyes that silently say "I see you" 19 times better and clearer than the human eyes -

Lake Sebu, Mindanao

A huge bird of prey got entangled in a fisherman’s net in the pristine waters of Lake Sebu, a hinterland town two thousand feet above sea level and populated by six indigenous tribes of South Cotabato. The Rufus Hornbill (Kalaw) chased the young Philippine Eagle off its territory causing it to crash into the lake’s waters.

The fish pen owner who grappled with the largest eagle in the world subdued the forest top predator into submission not without a bloody fight and cuts to his arms and shoulders. Fearing the worst fate to befall the mighty and “Angry Bird”, I was tasked by the Sta. Cruz Mission of Lake Sebu to secure the release of the eagle from captivity. After some successful negotiations I brought the bird to the Sta. Cruz Mission, Lem Ehek Center where a huge cage was constructed and called the Philippine Eagle Conservation Authority based in Davao City.

2007 research data from the Conservation International revealed that fewer than 250 adult Philippine Eagles are left in the Philippines. The largest eagle in the world , the Philippine Eagle, the National Bird of the Philippines (Pithecophaga Jeffereyi) is one of the rarest eagle and most threatened raptors in the world. It has large powerful claws, heavy yellow legs and bluish grey large bill. It grows bigger than 91 centimeters with a wingspan of two meters. The adult which can live more than 60 years weigh as much as 65 kilograms. It is said that the Philippine Eagle has 19 times better and sharper vision than humans during the day.

Visitors from as far as Manila, Davao City and Cotabato provinces came to view the large and majestic raptor.

After a few months, it was determined that the eagle has regained its health and can be released into the tropical forest of Lake Sebu.

With three of us from the Sta. Cruz Mission getting ready to take the blindfolds off, release our hold on its mighty wings and powerful claws, I was given the privilege of lifting and swinging the eagle up into the sky and into freedom to take its place as the top predator and barometer of the health of one of Mindanao’s remaining tropical forest .

Sightings were reported of the eagle along the Southern Mindanao and Daguma Mountain ranges. But every now and then it returns and make a pass along the 500 hectare -wide Lake Sebu waters.

Edwin Cordero Mercurio

Comments 4 comments

MercuryNewsOnline profile image

MercuryNewsOnline 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

You are right Beth100. My gentle stroking of its head and feathers could have helped make it realize that I meant no harm. Plus, the blindfold renders it in sleep mode. However, I would agree I was lucky to have touched this ferocius, magnificent and smooth air traveller during the day and came back to write this story.


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 3 years ago from Canada

I can only dream of handling an eagle! I have handled falcons and hawks -- and yes, their talons are razor sharp! Luckily, I have never been cut by them.

Like your experience, I have found that when they are being released, it's like they sense it, and remain calm and are actually careful of their talons.

Thank you for your wishes.


MercuryNewsOnline profile image

MercuryNewsOnline 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada Author

Thank you for your wonderful comment Beth100. There were three of us who worked together to take off the eagle's blindfold, protective gloves for the sharp talons and the release was managed by the Eagle Conservation Program director plus many others from the media and observers who were there to witness the event. For the three of us who were getting ready to release the majestic bird of prey, we had both excitement and anxiety since we were scared of the sharp claws of the raptor. Fortunately, it tamely allowed itself to be released into the sky where it headed straight to the forest canopy.

A friendly hug and greetings of peace, love and freindship for the New Year.


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 3 years ago from Canada

Beautiful!! It is wonderful to hear that this beautiful bird was released, and not killed and stuffed for viewing and as a trophy!! Excellent!

May your New Year be blessed with peace, love and friendship! Happy New Year!

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