A Python Killed Four-Month-Old Philippine Eagle, Chick No. 29
On December 4, 2021, the Philippines rejoiced as a new Philippine eagle, Chick Number 29 was hatched. It was the 29th Philippine eagle to be hatched in captivity. Its hatching was made more significant because a month earlier 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.
The Philippine Eagle Foundation announced the tragic death of the still-unnamed Chick No. 29 on April 8, 2022.
“On the morning of April 5, 2022, we found juvenile Philippine eagle Chick 29 lifeless on the floor of its enclosure. Based on the surveillance footage, Chick 29 was preyed on by a python. The incident happened despite the protective measures we set up,” wrote the Foundation.
"Based on the surveillance footage, Chick 29 was preyed on by a python. The incident happened despite the protective measures we set up," it added.
The attack happened at 12:13 a.m. in the morning. CCTV footage shows the snake slithering in the enclosure and attacking the eaglet while it was brooding.
According to the Foundation, preventive measures are in place to ensure enclosures for animals are safe against hazards and incidents of this nature.
"The walls of the enclosure were snake proofed with an added layer of 1/2 inch wire mesh on top of the original cyclone wire with a hole size of 2 by 2 inches. Possible entry points could be the feeding chute, which is a PVC pipe where food is dropped in the enclosure, or the screen ceiling. The enclosure is also adjacent to an adult Philippine eagle from the wild that can easily catch a snake. But unfortunately for fledglings, they are still vulnerable to predation," the Foundation wrote.
"Reticulated pythons are natural resident species inside the Philippine Eagle Center and the surrounding watershed area. They are classified as hazards under the PEC’s biosecurity measures. As such, snake proofing was done on the enclosures of the eaglet and other animals that a snake can prey on. Traps have been set up around the PEC and search parties mobilized at night to capture the problem snake."
A Serious Blow to Conservation Efforts
The death of Chick No. 29 is a serious blow to the conservation efforts for the world's rarest eagle.
Philippine 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.
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. There are only 400 pairs of Philippine eagles left in the world, and the Philippine Eagle Foundation is the only organization working to keep it from becoming extinct.
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.