Philippine Eagle ‘Mabuhay’ turns a month old

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 March)— “Mabuhay,” the 25th Philippine Eagle bred in captivity, turned a month old Saturday.

The offspring of Pag-asa, the first captive-bred Philippine Eagle, Mabuhay is “a testimony of the continuous learning and resilience of the staff” in conservation breeding, said Jason Ibañez, head of research and conservation of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF).

Ibañez recalled the challenges they faced before Mabuhay was hatched. He said it took 21 long years for Pag-asa to procreate through cooperative artificial insemination with Kalinawan, a 29-year old female rescued from Zamboanga del Sur and turned over to PEF in 2009, he said.

The Filipino word mabuhay means “to live” or “welcome.”

Anna Mae Sumaya, PEF curator for conservation breeding, recalled that Mabuhay hatched from a difficult position, so she had to carefully help it come out to prevent its vital veins from getting damaged and to keep it from hurting itself that might cause its death.

Mabuhay was hatched 48 hours after breaking its shell at 1:55 a.m. last February 9 and weighed 158 grams, according to Sumaya. She explained that the eaglet began cracking its shell on the side unlike others that normally pipped through the upper part of the egg, where there is air space.

Mabuhay now weighs 1.04 kilograms and is starting to learn how to stand.

An anonymous donor has pledged to shoulder the eaglet’s upkeep, estimated at P150,000 a year.

Celebrating with Mabuhay’s first month were three “hatch-mates,” or those who shared the same birth date with the eaglet, namely Leonora Calimbo, 34, and Mitchie Dela Cruz, 36 both from Calinan, and Marilou Natad, 28, from Matina, all in this city.

They went home with free Philippine Eagle stuffed toys.

Such stuffed toy is sold at P1,000 to help the foundation defray the costs in its work to preserve the critically endangered Philippine Eagle and its habitat.

Dennis Salvador, PEF executive director, said earlier that man-made activities like logging and mining, among other development projects, continue to endanger the Philippine Eagles and their forest habitat.

Eight other eagles await adoption. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)