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Respect for the Philippine eagle is the cry of the hour
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respect and saved the Philippine eagles
The Philippine eagle belongs to mankind, especially to the Filipino people because it thrives in no other place but in the fast-vanishing Philippine forests. A full-grown raptor was measured 102 centimeters or 3.35 feet long and with a crest colored cream. It’s the world’s largest eagle compared to other eagles found in other places of the world. It’s a national bird and a national heritage, too, because generations to come have also the right to claim it belongs to them.
According to IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), the bird is “critically endangered”with just 90-250 pairs left in the wild. It means there’s great danger of them vanishing out because of problems posing against their continued and peaceful existence. If they are all killed and die, for sure we’ll lose it as national bird and national heritage. If that happens, forbid! Our generations will lose the chance to see them live, flying in their natural habitat.
But not all people are greedy. Some want them to grow unmolested and multiply. They group together in various forms private and government called conservationists for the primordial purpose of protecting birds’ lives and habitat. Endangered species of birds, animals, others are listed and laws passed for their protection and conservation. Corresponding punishments in the form of fines and jail terms are imposed to discourage violators, with the hope that they’ll amend their wicked ways and instead develop love, respect and appreciation towards nature.
However, despite knowledge of these safeguards, violators and poachers continue to trample nature laws to give vent to their selfish ends.
Take this concrete example. On May 23, 2012 a lumad farmer Bryan Balaon, 26, of Impasugong, Bukidnon was fined P100,000 by Malaybalay City Judge Josefina Bacal for shooting, killing and eating Kagsabua, a male Philippine eagle in 2008. Conservationists and Philippine Eagle Foundation president Dennis Salvador found the punishment too lenient, saying it could encourage other hunters to commit the same offense.
Salvador lamented that the eagle is our national bird and heritage and felt that the imposition of P100,000 fine is light which will not bar poachers and other people who destroy nature, he said.
The bird in question had suffered another traumatic experience earlier. Salvador said it was shot by a man in 2006 and kept in a cage. The government seized and entrusted the bird to the foundation for rehab. With diligent care, the bird got well in no time. It was released and given its freedom on the ranges of Mount Kitanglad in Bukidnon, Mindanao, the 4th highest peak in the Philippines, after fitting a tiny radio transmitter in it in March 2008. However, sad to say, 4 months later the 4-kilogram bird was again shot. This time the poor bird suffered a fatal wound. It was dressed, cooked and eaten. The foundation was able to tract the culprit by way of the transmitter which was buried at the foot of a ravine.
According to Senior official of the EDPAWB (Environment Department’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau) Josefina de Leon, the maximum punishment under the 2001 wildlife act for poaching protected species is a 12-year prison term plus a fine of one million pesos.
Pagasa, Kabayan, Kalayaan and Hawk-eagle are among the eagles bred in captivity. Pagasa meaning hope was hatched from its egg on January 15, 1992. Pagasa is now 4 months and 20 years old with no mate and no offspring. The first eagle to be raised in captivity, Pagasa hates people except his surrogate parent, eagle caretaker Eddie Juntilla. Kalayaan got electrocuted on a power line in January 2005. Kabayan, born in 2002, was released to the wild in April 2004 to help increase their population. Born on April 2, 2012 the Hawk-eagle is the first Pinsker's hawk-eagle raised by natural means; its parents are 2 captive eagles. The Philippine Eagle Foundation prides itself to have successfully bred over 20 eagles, said PEF Director Dennis Salvador.
A couple of a male and female eagles remain faithful for life. When a mate died, the living partner may look for or accept a new mate as replacement. Male eagle attends sexual maturity at 7 years of age; female at 5.
Philippine eagles can live long. A captive Philippine eagle at a zoo in Rome lived for 41 years. A young male eaglet was adopted by the Philippine Eagle Center in 1969 and it’s still alive until today. It’s now 43 years old. There’s no study of the span of life of eagles in the wild. Given the dangers which eagles are exposed to in the open, conservationists estimate eagles in the wild lived shorter lives.
Mount Apo and its surrounding areas in Mindanao is the home of the Philippine Eagle. Long before, this bird lives in the forests of Samar, Leyte, and Luzon. Eagles are not visible most of the time because they’re hiding deep in the forest. Their habitat is becoming so small because of logging and the kaingin system of farming.
A Philippine eagle measures 75 to 100 cm. tall. It has a wing span of 2 meters. Its territory encompasses an area of 60 to 100 square kilometers. Its crown and crest are yellowish, tail dark brown with brackish bars and its feet are yellow.
Eagles hunt for flying lemurs, large snakes, monkeys, hornbills and wild cats or civets.
Eagles picked big and tall trees as high as 30 meters from the ground to build nests. The female lays only one egg. In the incubation period which takes 55 to 58 days, male eagle dutifully shares in the process.
The Philippine Eagle is currently the national bird of the Philippines. It is likewise known as the monkey-eating eagle.
Problems so seriously considered putting a threat on the existence of eagles are logging and mining activities as well as climate change and global warming.
Let’s help the Philippine eagles grow in number. Don’t shoot them! Don’t trap them!