By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – The Philippines Eagle Foundation (PEF) hopes to undertake a full scape study on the population of Philippine eagles in Pasonanca Park in Zamboanga City after the recent discovery of a pair of raptors in the 17,000-hectare protected area.
Dr. Jayson Ibañez, PEF’s director of research and conservation, said an expedition was being planned for September 2020, but only for the purpose of checking if the newly discovered pair has re-nested after its two-month-old offspring died last January.
“That’s our sole purpose (for this expedition). The checking of other eagle pairs within the park will be done in future expeditions,” he said.
Among those who will join the expedition include representatives from Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Zamboanga, municipal and provincial environment offices of Zamboanga City and Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga City Water District representatives and forest guards, and Protect Wildlife of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), he said.
He said experts could not ascertain the cause of the chick’s death, but suspected it was due to natural causes.
“We can’t know, for sure, the cause of death but we suspected it was due to natural causes, for example, sickness, naturally weak, or hypothermia. It’s not human-caused because the place is very well-protected,” he added.
He said the remains of the chick were sent to University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) examination.
Ibañez said there was still no full-scale study on the eagle population of Pasonanca Park, but the foundation hopes to undertake one in the future.
He said the DENR-Zamboanga Peninsula is monitoring eagles across the region.
He said DENR-Zamboanga and Protect Wildlife of USAID have supported the proposed city ordinance declaring the Philippine eagle as a flagship species of Zamboanga City and appropriating funds for the continuous study of eagles at the park.
“Once passed, it will lead to city government-led projects to save eagles within Pasonanca park, including education campaigns with city residents and students about the eagles, funding that will subsidize scientific studies on the eagles, and the engagement of forest guards who will protect the eagles and forest among others,” he added.
Mindanao is the “stronghold of the species,” Ibañez said. Nesting sites are found in Davao Region, Sarangani Province, North Cotabato, Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental.
The country sent Geothermica and Sambisig, the pair to Jurong Bird Park of Wildlife Reserves Singapore last June 4, 2019, as part of the loan program agreement to save the genetic stock of the Philippine eagles.