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DENR cites Philippine Eagle Foundation for vigilance in protecting endangered RP eagles

MANILA, June 26 -– The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cited on Saturday the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) for helping the government in its campaign to ensure the preservation and survival of the remaining two rare Philippine eagles.

One of the two surviving eagles, Kalabugao, is out free in the mountains of Mt. Kitanglad National Heritage Park (MKNHP) in Bukidnon province.

The other eagle is at the Mt. Apo National Park in Davao City, where it is kept in captivity.

Marissa Cruz, DENR public affairs office director, noted that the Philippine eagle in Bukidnon, identified as Kalabugao, represents the first documented case of a successful rehabilitation and release project for critically endangered birds-of-prey in the Philippines — if not in the Asia-Pacific.

Cruz said a report by PEF project officer Jason Ibañez showed a concerned citizen group (a biking society in Cagayan de Oro City) found the extremely ill and emaciated eagle in a remote village in Bukidnon in 2008.

DENR and PEF rescued the bird which had a broken collarbone as later shown by X-ray results. At the eagle center, she was patiently medicated and brought back to health. Prior to release, she was trained to avoid power poles.

The eagle was also provided with her own aviary and was trained for her to build her stamina and flight and hunting skills.

Kalabugao was released in 2009 and was monitored faithfully thereafter through the concerted efforts of the local government units, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and civil society groups.

Now free and surviving independently in the wild, Kalabugao and her story is another testament to the human spirit of team work and unity that emerged in response to a crisis.

“We will continue to monitor the movement and behavior of Kalabugao in close collaboration with local co-researchers and the communities surrounding the hack site and the riparian forests of Kulaman,” Ibañez said.

"Although the satellite transmitter is already dead, the radio tag is working fine," Ibañez said.

“Through the triangulation method, we’ll still be able to get location estimates and map out the movements of the bird. Regular logs of her hunting behavior and success and the nature of her interaction with people, wildlife and the forests will be continued as well,” he added.

Personalized education campaigns in each community that Kalabugao can possibly fly to or have contact with will also be sustained, Ibañez said. (PNA) scs/JCA

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