PEF set to release rescued eagle in Sarangani

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 June) – The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) is set to release a male Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) on June 13, or more than a year after it survived an injury to its wing inflicted by hunters in the hinterland in Sarangani province.

“Sarangani Eagle” after it was rescued in January 2021. File photo courtesy of hoto JOYLYN TY

Andi Baldonado, PEF development program manager, said during an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Wednesday that the release of “Sarangani Eagle” (previously named “Salagbanog”) will culminate  the Philippine Eagle Week 2022 celebration, which started June 6 until 13.
She said the foundation will need the help of local government units and communities in the province to protect the eagle and to conserve its population, classified as critically endangered.
A T’boli farmer found the raptor trapped in thorny rattan vines after hunting a monkey near Salagbanog Falls, located in Barangay Ticulab, Maitum town in Sarangani province on January 8, 2021.
The eagle was rehabilitated after veterinarians of the Philippine Eagle Center performed a surgery on the eagle to extract a piece of marble lodged near its right clavicle. The marble might have been used as a bullet by a hunter, according to PEF.
“We will release the Philippine eagle Sarangani, one of those we rescued. It’s deemed fit for release and we have the support of the LGU there and we can finally do this, this coming Monday,” Baldonado said.

T’boli farmer Mang Gamang, rescuer of “Sarangani Eagle.” File photo courtesy of JOYLYN TY

Eagles in the wild are confronted with threats of hunting and avian influenza (H5N1) or bird flu.
She said the PEF rescued 12 eagles since the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, many of them either shot or trapped by hunters in the uplands.
Baldonado added that there is a lot of work to do even after its release, which necessitates partnerships with various communities to ensure it survives in the wild and to protect it from threats.
“It’s not something that when you set them free, that’s it. There’s a lot of work that gets into it. We go to the community because we have to inform them about the eagle but also, at the same time, to start a partnership with them so that they will participate in looking after the eagles,” she said.
Baldonado urged the public to support the causes of PEF, particularly supporting the livelihood and giving the people in the hinterlands access to education and health.
“Generally, most of the communities that we work with are the poorest of the poor. They need help so that they can continue to protect the eagles,” she said.
She added that the partnership with LGUs is also needed to provide a budget in mobilizing forest guards who will look after the eagle once it is released. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)