PEF to screen “Bird of Prey” online to raise funds for Eagle ‘Kadasig’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 June) — The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) will screen online the award-winning documentary film “Bird of Prey” on June 24 to raise funds for “Kadasig,” a 17-year old captive-bred Philippine eagle, the lone eagle that has not been adopted among 32 of its kind kept at the center in Malagos, Baguio District.

Andi Baldonado, PEF development project manager, said the center needs to raise 200,000 pesos to cover for Kadasig’s food, enclosure maintenance, keeper care, and veterinary care for a year, as the threats of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and bird flu forced the Philippine Eagle Center to close down temporarily to visitors last March. Any interested donor can make a minimum pledge of 250 pesos through PEF’s website.

World-renowned wildlife cinematographer Neil Rettig embarks on the most challenging assignment of his career to find and film the rarest eagle on the planet. A production of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “Bird of Prey” is an expertly women tale with stunning cinematography, journeys deep into the vanishing world of the Great Philippine Eagle and reveals an inspiring group of people that are determined to save the world’s most critically endangered eagle species from extinction.

“Kadasig,” a Cebuano word that refers to enthusiasm or being in high spirits, or inspiration, plays an important role in the conservation breeding program of the center as the raptor is already at its prime age for breeding as a mal-imprint eagle, currently serving as one of center’s semen donors for cooperative artificial insemination (CAI) method, she said.

She said the center wants to produce more captive-bred raptors that will be released later on in the wild.

“He has an extraordinary relationship with his keeper who stands as his surrogate mate. This took time to build with Kadasig being under the care of his keeper for two years now. Strengthening Kadasig’s bond with his keeper is essential to successfully employ the cooperative artificial insemination method,” a briefer released by PEF said.

Kadasig is the offspring of a natural pair of rescued and rehabilitated Philippine eagles, it added.

Baldonado said the Philippine Eagle Center has 32 raptors, some of them being prepared for the breeding season next month. The preparation includes “stimulation through sprig offering so that the eagles will begin their breeding activities.”

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Baldonado said the PEC has survived mostly on donations, scaling down its services to core purpose as a breeding and rehabilitation facility for the Philippine eagles and other raptors.

The center’s conservation education program has already been made available online while field research is sustained at a limited capacity due to the COVID quarantine measures, she said.

“We are getting by but because we rely completely on donations, we need the constant support of the public especially while the PEC is closed. We are grateful for the support that we’ve been receiving since we started our crowdfunding last March 24,” she said.

She said the foundation hopes to reopen the center at a limited capacity once the city shifts to modified general community quarantine.

“But we will have to wait for further info and guidelines on that. But part of our considerations for reopening is the downsized capacity of the PEC in accommodating guests in tandem with enhanced biosecurity measures to make sure that we can safely operate according to the government’s mandate,” she said.  (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)