Bukidnon town wants to be known as ‘Philippine eagle sanctuary’

Published May 30, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Zea C. Capistrano

Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon – A town located in the heart of Mindanao will be celebrating Philippine Eagle Week next month by way of crafting a resolution declaring itself as a sanctuary for the critically endangered species.

In an exclusive interview with Manila Bulletin, Manolo Fortich town mayor Clive Quiño said they were working on crafting a resolution that will seek to promote awareness about the conservation of Philippine eagle.

Ceremonies for the passage of the resolution is slated onon June 6, to coincide with the celebration of Philippine Eagle Week, which is celebrated annually from June 4 to 10 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 79.

“This is our chance to prove that we can preserve our natural resources and that we can contribute to increasing the population of the Philippine eagle,” Quiño said.

The remaining lush forest covers in Manolo Fortich is home to a family of Philippine eagles. One of them is the female eagle Kalabugao, who got her name from the village of Kalabugao where she was captured on March 20, 2008, while she was still a juvenile eagle.

Dr. Jayson Ibanez, Director for Research and Conservation of the Philippine Eagle Foundation, said Kalabugao was in a bad shape and was only a year-old when she was found by a group of bikers.

“She was thin and severely dehydrated,” he said.

Rescuers also found that Kalabugao had sustained bruises and a broken collar bone. An airgun pellet was also found lodged on her right ankle.

After more than a year of rehabilitation inside the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City, Kalabugao was released at the Mt. Kitanglad Natural Park in Bukidnon province on October 29, 2009.

Five years later, Kalabugao was captured by a farmer after the predator killed a domestic pig. She was then turned over to authorities and was again released in March 2015.

In 2017, Kalabugao successfully hatched an offspring named Guilang-Guilang by the locals.

Like her mother, Guilang-Guilang, a female juvenile eaglet, was named after Barangay Guilang-Guilang in Manolo Fortich where her nest was found and is closely guarded by the BantayKalasan (forest guards). The village is the farthest village from the town’s center.

Ibanez said Kalabugao is the only eagle who survived from among five eagles they released in Mt. Kitanglad between 2008 and 2011.