Farmers turn over eagle to DENR in Butuan

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BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/08 September) – Residents of a farming village here turned over a juvenile Crested Serpent Eagle to the Department of Environment Natural Resources (DENR) after it survived an attack by a group of crows Friday afternoon.

Reslie Gallego of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) said that the eagle was turned over to their office late Friday afternoon.

“We were about to leave the office when two men carrying the eagle by hand holding the wings and leg arrived at our office to turn over the bird. We immediately noticed that the bird was weak and it did not even offer any resistance as we placed it in our cage,” said Gallego.

The official identified those who turned over the raptor as Rey Balaido Alipao and Jezreel Taninon, both residents of purok 17-A, barangay Mahay in Butuan City.

The Crested Serpent Eagle inside the cage at the PENRO in Butuan City before it was turned over to the DENR regional team. MindaNews photo by Erwin Mascarinas
The Crested Serpent Eagle inside the cage at the PENRO in Butuan City before it was turned over to the DENR regional team. MindaNews photo by Erwin Mascarinas

“At around 4:00 in the afternoon, we saw the bird flying above the rice fields while it was attacked by around four crows. It suddenly landed near where we were standing. Jezreel went closer to the bird and saw that it did not even bother to move, so he touched the bird and captured it as it looked very weak,” said Alipao.

He said they brought to the bird to the PENRO since they were afraid the bird might die in their hands.

“We know it was an eagle and several of our neighbors started talking about what happened recently to another eagle who was shot and killed and that we might be held as criminals if it will die with us,” he said.

“We have such high regard and respect for the bird that we hurried towards the DENR office and turned it over,” said Alipao while showing where they caught the bird at an open area in barangay Mahay.

The PENRO officer initially said the bird was a Philippine Serpent Eagle but a specialist from the DENR regional office who came to check on the bird confirmed that it was a Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela).

Florente Demata, eco-system management specialist of the DENR said the report of the specialist concluded that the bird was healthy based on the inspection on Monday morning.

“The report we had stated that the bird is juvenile, has a wingspan of 41 inches and a total weight of 3/4 kilo with yellow eyes and brown bill. We will then observe the bird and then release it to the wild,” said Demata.

Republic Act 9147 prohibits the collecting, hunting or possessing of wildlife, their by-products and derivatives, he added.

Anna Mae Sumaya, curator at the Philippine Eagle Foundation said the serpent eagle hunts for snakes, lizards and smaller birds.

“The eagle might have been attacked by another group of predatory birds like the Large Billed Crows that attack as a group. As a medium-sized bird of prey, the crows would have seen the Serpent eagle as a threat as it got close to its territory,” said Sumaya. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)

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