Transfer of 3 breeding pairs of Philippine eagles seen amid bird flu threat

A Philippine eagle feeds on a rabbit at the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City. MindaNews File Photo by RUBY THURSDAY MORE

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/June 8) – The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) is considering an emergency transfer of its three breeding pairs of the endangered Philippine Eagle to Barangay Eden in Toril District, Davao City this year amid the threat of the highly pathogenic bird flu (H5N1) or bird flu.

PEF development program manager Andi Baldonado told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Wednesday that the foundation wants to establish temporary enclosures this year at a new location owned by the city government to house the eagles and protect them. deadly bird flu. .

“Our priority is to first transfer the eagles that are currently breeding. We have two or three – a pair is being introduced. We need to prioritize them so they can continue to breed,” she said.

She said the current location of Barangay Malagos poses risks to eagles as residential areas and game bird farms around the center have expanded over the years.

She estimated that around 400 pairs of eagles are left in the wild, putting them in the category of “critically endangered species”.

“There are farms adjacent to our property and it’s very disturbing for couples to breed,” she said.

She said eagles are very sensitive and breeding activities can be easily disturbed by noise.

She added that disturbances to adjacent communities make it difficult for pairs to mate and produce eggs.

“Later on, the goal is to develop a new facility there for the breeding and rehabilitation of eagles. That’s the plan,” she said.

She said the PEF is waiting for the usufruct agreement with the local government before it can build initial facilities in a 50-hectare area at the foot of Mount Apo.

Baldonado said the PEF plans to eventually transfer most of its eagles which are kept at its center in Barangay Malagos to the new “isolated” location of Barangay Eden which the organization intends to use exclusively for reproduction and rehabilitation.

She said the foundation will establish enough buffer zones to protect the eagles from the threat posed by expanding residential areas and to keep them intact while breeding.

“We’ve already done an assessment of the area and actually it’s very ideal for Philippine eagles because it’s at the foot of Mount Apo…so that already tells us it’s ideal for eagles. We really want to prioritize that there is enough buffer around the facility, which means no one can build houses and other settlements,” she said.

The new location, including its altitude and temperature, is highly conducive for Philippine eagles since Mount Apo is their natural habitat and a known nesting ground, according to Baldonado.

“It has a total area of ​​50 hectares. We don’t intend to use most of it. In fact, the platform will be much lower than that. We need surrounding buffer zones. It will not be open to the public or other people,” she said.

But she added that she will keep her center in Malagos for exhibition and education purposes.

She said the center would close if there is a confirmed case of bird flu in the city. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)