A Historic Number of Philippine Eagles Were Rescued Amid the Pandemic
In the past 50 years, the population of the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) has only plummeted. There are only 400 pairs of Philippine eagles left in the world, and the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) is the only organization working to keep it from becoming extinct.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the eagle as critically endangered—which is a step away from becoming extinct in the wild.
A Philippine Eagle Stranded in a Town in Saranggani
In January 2021, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) announced the death of Pag-asa, the world's first Philippine eagle to be hatched and bred in captivity. He was 28 years old.
But this was followed by bright news 12 months later.
On December 4, 2021, Chick Number 29 was hatched. It was the 29th Philippine eagle to be hatched in captivity in nearly three decades.
Chick No. 29
The birth of the new chick sparked hope for the conservation of the eagles, which has been more challenging because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, the Philippine Eagle Center (PEC), which is run by the PEF, appealed to the public for financial support because the main source of its income was affected by lockdowns. As a private non-profit, the PEC relies primarily on admission fees and donations for its upkeep, but that has been affected by the pandemic. The PEC is the only breeding and rehabilitation facility for the national bird of the Philippines.
More Philippine Eagles Rescued
According to National Geographic, an average of two Philippine eagles are rescued by the PEF every year.
But that number spiked during the pandemic.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, the PEF rescued 10 Philippine eagles, a historic high, according to National Geographic. Of the 10, two were rescued from traps intended for game.
“Two had been captured by farmers after the raptors had killed their piglets, chickens, pet dogs, and cats; two had been wounded with improvised hunting rifles; three had been found in the forest, weakened by starvation; and a two-month-old chick had been rescued from a farmer hoping to sell it,” reported National Geographic.
But in spite of the increased rescues, conservationists believe this was also because of an increase in poaching activities.
Jayson Ibañez, research and conservation director of the PEF, tells National Geographic, “Rather than the usual narrative of ‘nature is healing,’ we think it’s a different case for the Philippine eagles. We believe there is an increase in the frequency of intrusion in the forests.”
Philippine eagles are the rarest species of eagles in the world and the most vulnerable. The eagles take five to seven years to sexually mature and can live up to 40 years in captivity. They have a lower survival rate in the wild because of habitat loss and poaching.
Donate to Save the Philippine Eagles
The Philippine Eagle Foundation has put up a donation portal so people can support its conservation efforts aimed at protecting the national bird of the Philippines.
You can send your donation to the Philippine Eagle Foundation by following this link or simply transferring cash to the PEF’s bank accounts listed below.
BPI Account name: Philippine Eagle Conservation Program Foundation, Inc.
Account number: 9441-0113-31
BDO Account name: Philippine Eagle Conservation Program Foundation, Inc.
Account number: 010990066754
You may also scan the PEF's GCash QR code for donations.