THE Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (Agham) Party-list condemned the killing of “Pamana,” the Philippine eagle (pithecophaga jefferyi) released to the wild two months ago. It was found dead with gunshot wound on its breast.
“The Philippine Eagle, an endemic species to our country, has much beauty and magnificence among the breeds of eagles that make them striking to hunters, who take joy in killing them,” Agham President Angelo B. Palmones said.
He said “Pamana” and the Philippine eagles “are not trophy prizes.”
“They are meant to be taken-cared of by everyone because they sustain the needs of our ecosystem. Without them, a part of the natural ecology will be completely paralyzed, considering that at present, their population is getting to be fewer,” Palmones, a former party-list representative of Agham in the House of Representative said in a news statement.
The three-year-old Philippine Eagle that was released to the wild two months ago has been found dead by Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) biologists at Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental province in Mindanao on Sunday, conservationists said on Wednesday, in a tragic ending after she was nursed back to health from gunshot wounds three years ago.
A puncture and metal fragment on her right breast indicated she had died of a gunshot wound, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said in its web site.
Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje on Thursday has offered a P100,000 reward for the arrest of those responsible for the death of “Pamana.”
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of ‘Pamana.’ This is not the first time that a Philippine eagle was shot to death. Those responsible for this barbaric act must be arrested and punished for committing this environmental crime,” Paje said in a news release. He also said that, while ‘Pamana’s death was a setback to the country’s biodiversity conservation program, the government will continue to pursue its breeding program for the raptor through the PEF.
Only about 400 adult pairs are estimated left of the Philippine Eagle. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies the species as “critically endangered.” The foundation released the bird back to the wild to breed on June 12, Philippine Independence Day, about a kilometer from where its carcass was found.
Dennis Salvador, executive director of the PEF, said the foundation is working with the police and local officials to arrest those behind the killing, which happened despite an information drive among the communities in the area about the high-profile bird. “It’s really very disturbing,” Salvador said.
Killing a Philippine Eagle is punishable by up to 12 years in jail.
Agham said it supports the foundation in its efforts of using research and development to continue the care and aide in reproduction of eagles to hopefully increase their diminishing population.
“But with the actions of these hunters who take fatal blows on our eagles, we might see the day of its complete extinction. We would like our children’s children to be able to see these birds for themselves and not just on photographs,” Palmones said.
“We seek everyone’s support and participation, especially the local government units and its officials, to educate our countrymen on the importance of caring for the eagles and other animals, and that vigilance is needed to secure our eagles and ensure that in their way of living back to the wilderness after tedious care by the Philippine Eagle Foundation, they will be able to live normally,” Palmones added.
Agham, through then-Representative Palmones, filed the writ of kalikasan for the protection of Mount Apo in 2012.
In 2013, the Court of Appeals released its judgment wherein the memorandum of agreement of Agham with the DENR and other respective offices and representatives are bound to create a medium- to long-term plan to save and protect Mount Apo from disruptive and destructive actions.
Part of protecting Mount Apo is to save the Philippine Eagle and continuously create a natural habitat for them and other living creatures on the mountain.
Image credits: Philippine Eagle Foundation