Juvenile PHL eagle captured in E. Samar

TACLOBAN CITY—A fledgling Philippine eagle was captured in the upstream town of Maslog in Eastern Samar by a son of a farmer who set a trap for chicken.

According to a report of the Conservation and Development Division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the estimated three-year old Philippine eagle was caught in a trap within the forest of Carayacay village, which is within the 333300-hectare Samar Island Natural Park (SINP).

The report said the young man brought the eagle to Maslog Vice Mayor Septemio Santiago on June 17 after it unintentionally entered the set trap. Santiago then reported the incident to the Community Environment and Natural Resources office in Dolores town (CENRO-Dolores), which has the jurisdiction over the area.

The DENR regional office and Biodiversity Management Bureau then immediately sent a team of veterinarians and technical staff from Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) to conduct an assessment on the condition of the eagle now officially named “Maslog ES.”

Although the team considered the eagle in good condition, Maslog ES was turned over to the PEF center on June 26 for further examination and rehabilitation. When the foundation already sees it fit, Maslog ES will be released back to its natural habitat in Maslog forest.

“Sightings of the Philippine eagle is extremely rare and protecting them is a challenge,” said Crizaldy  Barcelo, DENR regional executive director. He said the rescue of Maslog ES once again confirms the presence of this critically endangered species in Eastern Samar.

SINP is the country’s largest terrestrial protected area, which, including its buffer, totals 458,700 hectares, or a third of the entire Samar Island.

Up until highways were built that criss-crossed the mountains, SINP is known as a nesting site of the Philippine eagle, with the first sighting recorded by British explorer John Whitehead in June 15, 1856.

Following the rescue of Maslog ES, DENR  is stepping up its campaign for the protection of this critically endangered bird and its habitat.

 “Its presence in our region is a testament that we still have healthy forests, which we need to sustainably manage and protect,” Barcelo said.

Last year, the three provincial governments that comprise the Samar island—Northern, Western and Eastern Samar—started a campaign to declare SINP as a Unesco World Heritage Site due to its rich biodiversity.

Hunting of the Philippine eagle is strictly prohibited under the Philippine Wildlife Conservation Act with penalties of up to 12 years imprisonment and a fine of up to P1 million.

A Philippine eagle was last seen in the forests of Calbiga, Samar and Taft, Eastern Samar, in September 2014. In 2013, a Philippine eagle was spotted near the boundaries of Baybay City, Burauen and Albuera in Leyte province and Silago, Southern Leyte, months before Supertyphoon Yolanda struck. Reports of observed nesting site were also recorded in Eastern Samar in the same year.

The Philippine eagle was officially declared the country’s national bird in 1995 by then-President Fidel V. Ramos. It is endemic to the Philippines and can be found in the islands of Eastern Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.

Barcelo said the Philippine eagle is one of the DENR’s priority threatened species for conservation and is listed as “critically endangered” per DENR Administrative Order 2004-15 on the list of terrestrial threatened species and their categories and under the International Union for Conservation (IUCN).


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