The entire DENR community was distraught over the killing of yet another Philippine eagle. This sets back government efforts to protect the critically endangered raptor.
Pamana, a three-year-old female Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), was found dead by PEF biologists and forest guards at the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS) in Davao Oriental last Sunday. A puncture and metal fragment on her right breast indicated she had died of a gunshot wound.
Pamana’s death will not, however, prevent the government – through the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) – to pursue its captive breeding program to boost the population of the majestic Philippine national bird.
The Protected Area Management Board of MHRWS and the PEF are now conducting a full investigation on the incident.
Local residents are urged to help authorities track down the killers.
Protected under law
The Philippine eagle is protected under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. As such, anyone found guilty of killing wildlife species can be imprisoned from six to 12 years, with a fine ranging from P100,000 to P1 million.
Moreover, illegal hunting within the MHWRS, which is a protected area, is also punishable by a jail term of six years and a fine of up to P500,000.
Pamana was released within the MHRWS only on June 12. She was rehabilitated by the PEF after DENR personnel had rescued her from a gunshot wound three years ago.
Not the first time
On August 14, 2004, a decomposing body of a female Philippine eagle was found in Mt. Apo in Davao City. The raptor, which was among those monitored by the DENR and PEF for years, bore a gunshot wound, a crack at its keel bone.
The Philippine eagle, hailed the “world’s noblest flier” by former aviator Charles Lindbergh, is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
There are an estimated 400 pairs remaining in the wild today.