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‘RAPTORS IN FLIGHT’

Watch birds of prey fly, hunt in Davao’s PH eagle center

05:30 AM August 13, 2019
Watch birds of prey fly, hunt in Davao’s PH eagle center

CONSERVATION SYMBOL “Sinag,” a 3-year-old male Philippine eagle, and other birds of prey nurtured at the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City help educate visitors about environmental conservation. —JOSELLE R. BADILLA

DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — Visitors to the Philippine Eagle Center in Malagos here are in for a treat as they can witness the behavior of birds of prey while in flight or hunting.

“Raptors in Flight,” the Philippine Eagle Foundation’s (PEF) latest initiative to educate the public about raptors, will be a weekly event at the center in Calinan District starting Aug. 17 in time for the Kadayawan Festival activities.

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“This is the first and only demonstration in the world to show a Philippine eagle flying on cue,” Dennis Salvador, PEF executive director, said in a statement.

Conservation mission

“It truly is a sight to see. We hope that through this educational experience, more people would come to appreciate our feathered friends and in turn, be inspired to contribute to the conservation mission to make a difference,” he said.

Nine raptor species, including the giant scops owl, Mindanao lowland owl, Pinsker’s hawk-eagle, Philippine serpent eagle, brahminy kite, grey-headed fishing eagle, white-bellied sea eagle and the Philippine eagle “Sinag,” saw action during the launching on Saturday, doing the flight demonstration.

Sinag, a juvenile male Philippine eagle adopted by the Philippine Airlines, will turn 4 years old in December this year.

Lohwana Halaq, a primatologist and Sinag’s handler, has been training the eagles for about two years.

Training

“For our Philippine eagle and all the other birds of prey here, it does take time [to train them],” she said. “That was the main thing—training in terms for falconry. All the techniques come from falconry … like training birds of prey to hunt, basically. But instead of hunting here, we’re training them on the cue of our glove and they get the reward of a piece of meat,” Halaq told reporters after the performance.

She said the training was a way of “conditioning the animals’ response to cues on time and to be safe while doing it.”

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“Our birds are safe and we are safe; [we start] off with getting to know the birds,” she said.

Ticket prices for “Raptors in Flight” are P300 for adults and P250 for children, inclusive of entrance fee, film viewing and tour of the Philippine Eagle Center. PEF also arranges private viewing of raptors through [email protected] or through mobile number 0917-7089084. Joselle R. Badilla

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TAGS: birds of prey, Philippine Eagle Center, Philippine Eagle Foundation, Raptors in Flights
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