Photos: Philippine Eagle Foundation

Philippines: Rescued Philippine Eagle released in Apayao
By , 2016;

A rescued Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) was released into the wild in the province of Apayao recently.

According to DENR Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Dr. Candido Tuscano, the female bird was rescued by a group of fishermen along the Tawit River in the municipality of Pudtol, Apayao on April 21 at around 10AM.

Based on the accounts of a fisherman Richard Tomas, they saw a large bird struggling to fly so they decided to rescue it. They turned over the bird to an employee of the Municipal Government of Pudtol identified as Teddy Zuniga, who informed DENR and the Philippine Eagle Foundation based in Calanasan, Apayao.

Provincial Veterinarian Ralph Verzon was asked by the PEF to inspect the bird and confirm its species. Upon confirmation that the bird was indeed a Philippine Eagle, PEF Director for Research and Conservation Dr. Jayson Ibanez together with the DENR officials brought the eagle to the Ranada General Hospital in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte to undergo diagnosis for fauna. The bird underwent X-ray exams which revealed that there was no bone fracture but has an airgun bullet in its right leg. However it did not have any new wounds meaning the bullet was there for quite some time.

The bird was brought at the Galves Pet Clinic also in Laoag City for other lab tests including DNA, CBC and WBC which showed that the bird was in good condition.

The bird weighing 5.5 kilograms was brought back to Pudtol, was tagged with a radio and a satellite transmitter to easily monitor its location, and was released into the wilderness of barangay Lydia on April 24.

Prior to its release, Pudtol Mayor Batara Laoat named the female eagle “Ingagan” which was meant for the preservation of the Ingagan clan of the Isnag including their indigenous culture and belief.

Laoat said that the presence of the Philippine Eagle might be due to the Nagan-Maton River Conservation System in the municipality. The program mixed with the Apayao custom ’lappat’, a practice where some zones of the forest and the river are prohibited for hunting and fishing because of the Isnag belief of the guardian anitos, proved to be effective in preserving the forest, water shed and became a habitat for different species, he said.

The Mayor calls for the participation of locals and even tourists not to disturb the habitats for preservation. “You can only observe, admire, but are not allowed to pick or get anything from certain zones in the forests and rivers because they are declared as lappat.”

The province of Apayao was dubbed as New Home of the Philippine Eagle in n 2015 following the discovery of their habitat in Calanasan, Apayao.

Source: Philippine Information Agency

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