Mining poses threat to Philippine eagle, says conservationistBy Karlos Manlupig
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Mining continues to be one of the main threats to the survival of the Philippine Eagle, according to the head of a foundation that has taken upon itself the task of preserving one of the world’s most majestic birds.
“Mining is always a threat to the Philippine Eagles, most especially open-pit mining,” said Dennis Salvador, executive director of the Philippine Eagle Foundation here.
Salvador said mining, like other destructive human activities, also leaves land barren, depriving eagles of their natural habitat.
He said the Philippine Eagle population continues to decline because of widespread destruction of its habitat.
To date, PEF estimates that there are only about 400 pairs of Philippine Eagles left in the wild.
“Two hundred pairs were documented to be in Mindanao while the remaining pairs are in Samar and some parts of Luzon,” he said.
Salvador said that because of the rapid shrinking of its habitat due to mining and deforestation, the country’s national bird is now considered a critically endangered species.
He said the Aquino government must address the problem of deforestation and the destruction brought about by mining in order to increase the Philippine Eagle’s chances of survival.
“We must not look at this industry (mining) from a purely extractive point of view,” Salvador said.
In Mati City, Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon ordered small-scale miners in Tarragona town to halt their activities, albeit for other reasons—operating without the necessary license.
Davao Oriental is among Mindanao provinces where eagles have been sighted in the past.
In her order, Malanyaon gave small-scale miners, reportedly numbering over 1,000, until July 26 to shut down their tunnels and haul their equipment out of the mining area in Bangol in Barangay (village) Tubaon.
Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat said that based on the information reaching her, similar activities were also going on near Barangay Don Salvador Lopez, which borders Mati and Tarragona.
She said she has sent a team to the area to verify how serious the problem on illegal mining there has become.