Conservationists mourn passing of PH eagle ‘Geo’
ILIGAN CITY — The wildlife conservation community mourned the passing of 19-year-old Philippine Eagle “Geothermica” on Sept. 7 in Singapore, where he was on breeding loan.
“Geo,” as the male eagle was fondly called, together with the female eagle “Sambisig” or “Sam,” had been in Singapore’s Mandai Wildlife Reserve since 2019, as part of a pioneering international cooperation to save the critically endangered raptor, which is the rarest in the world.
The pair’s trip to the Lion City in 2019 was timed for the celebration of the golden jubilee of Philippines-Singapore bilateral relations. They were both issued Philippine passports by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Geo was admitted at an avian hospital on Sept. 6 “after his care team observed that he was not feeding well, and initial blood tests indicated that he was fighting an infection,” Mandai said in a statement.
“But Geo’s medical condition took a turn for the worse (on Thursday) evening. During his ongoing treatment at the hospital, Geo collapsed and had to be resuscitated twice” before he succumbed to a severe lung infection, Mandai said.
Mandai appealed for public sympathy amid the tragic loss: “Geo was a fighter and his care team and veterinarians did their best to save him. This is a loss that they are still processing and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts.”
According to Mandai, they were set to perform a necropsy and lab tests “to get a definitive diagnosis” of Geo’s death.
It was noted that prior to his illness, Geo “began displaying behaviors indicating interest to mate with Sambisig.”
“Both eagles came into our care as a future breeding pair. Our team is turning their attention to Sambisig to ensure she adjusts well in this period of transition,” Mandai added.
Geo and Sam are the first breeding pair of Philippine Eagles to be sent outside the country as part of a recovery plan in case the captive-breeding population in Philippine Eagle Foundation’s Davao facility gets decimated by a disease like the bird flu. INQ