By Catherine Reveal, PNA
MANILA – Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu said the country will provide the government of Singapore a pair of Philippine Eagles (scientific name “Pithecophaga jefferyi”).
Said move aims to ensure there will still be Philippine Eagles left for breeding there in case an outbreak of disease either wipes out or significantly affects this species’ population in the country.
“We’ll do that to preserve the Philippine Eagle which is very near extinction already,” he said Wednesday (April 24) in Quezon City at DENR’s 2019 celebration of the annual Earth Day, the environmental protection-advocating global event this month.
Since the Philippine Eagle is a top predator, DENR said this species is responsible for regulating population of smaller animals that may pose danger to humans and crops.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) already warned about the Philippine Eagle’s decreasing population.
Available IUCN data show there are some 180 to 500 mature Philippine Eagles left.
Diseases, hunting, habitat destruction and climate change are among threats to such species, noted IUCN.
DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said the Philippines-Singapore bid to conserve the Philippine Eagle will commence this year.
“The pair of eagles will be on loan to Singapore,” he said on the celebration’s side.
He noted Singapore’s government has experts who can look after the eagles.
DENR will provide, as soon as possible, more details about the matter.
To better manage and conserve the Philippine Eagle, Cimatu last year issued DENR Memorandum Circular 2018-04 covering the protocol for loan of this species.
Loaning a pair of Philippine Eagles to Singapore is in line with “Protect our species,” the 2019 Earth Day theme.
This aims to help raise awareness about accelerating extinction rate of species worldwide, intensify species conservation efforts and promote more species-protecting individual action like stopping use of pesticides.
Proclamation 615, series of 1995, declared the Philippine Eagle as the country’s national bird, noting the species’ uniqueness, strength, power and love for freedom “exemplifies the Filipino people.”
“The Philippine Eagle offers immense ecological, aesthetic, educational, historical, recreational and scientific value to the Philippines and the Filipino people,” Proclamation 615 also said.
Earlier, DENR said its collaboration with various organizations and research institutions led to discovery of new individual Philippine Eagles as well as breeding pairs, nests and distribution records of this species.
DENR added the Philippine Eagle Foundation-led program for breeding Philippine Eagles produced 28 captive-bred eagles between 1992 and 2016 at Davao-based Philippine Eagle Center. (PNA)