23rd August 2015;
The heritage officer of Davao Oriental province on Friday appealed for understanding and urged the people and the UN heritage agency not to condemn them for the death of Pamana, the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) that had been released in the province’s wildlife sanctuary.
Dolores Valdesco, speaking on behalf of the provincial government of Davao Oriental, said it was unfair of people to judge them as “incapable of protecting important wildlife species with just that one isolated case.” As host to Pamana’s new habitat, the provincial government was also “very concerned about the incident,” she said.
Capable of protection
“By the continued rich biodiversity of the Mt. Hamiguitan Range, we have already proven to the world our capability to protect [wildlife],” she said, noting that Davao Oriental was identified as one of the provinces with the most number of Philippine Eagles.
Dennis Salvador, executive director of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), earlier said Pamana’s killing showed “we have problems in our protected areas.”
“Basically we have problems in our protected areas, whether it’s the ability to enforce the law or the will [to enforce it],” Salvador said.
Pamana was released back to the wild on Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental on June 12 after undergoing rehabilitation at the PEF center here for two gunshot wounds she sustained in Iligan City in 2012.
On Aug. 16, her decomposing remains were recovered by PEF biologists and forest guards near a creek on Mt. Hamiguitan. She had apparently died from a gun pellet wound in her right chest.
Valdesco said they were investigating the incident to find the culprit.
“It is very heartbreaking and very unfortunate that it happened in our province and on Mt. Hamiguitan Range,” she said.
She added the eagle was found outside the core of the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary.
The reward offered for the identification and arrest of Pamana’s killer has grown to P300,000. A day after a national agency, a governor and a television personality raised P200,000 in reward money, a civic organization in Davao del Norte — The Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) — announced it was pitching in P100,000 for the reward.
“We would like to support efforts for the quest of justice for the fallen national bird to which we owe our name,” Dennis Denora, president of one of the FOE clubs in the Davao region, said.
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer