Rescued PH eagle released into wild found shot dead
Barely two months after he was released back into the wild, Minalwang, a Philippine Eagle nursed back to health over the past two years by wildlife authorities, was found dead in the forest of Mt. Lumot in Misamis Oriental.
The eagle had apparently been felled by a bullet, wildlife officials at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.
Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) Director Theresa Mundita Lim said the DENR community was “extremely saddened” by Minalwang’s death.
“This is another blow for us, especially for our conservation program where we have been trying so hard to perpetuate the existence of our haring ibon (king of the birds),” Lim said in a statement Saturday.
Only an estimated 500 pairs of Philippine eagles remain in the wild, and fewer than 50—including those that have been bred in captivity or are being rehabilitated—are in the custody of the PEF and the DENR.
The PAWB sought the help of the public in investigating Minalwang’s death.
The eagle’s remains were found on Oct. 11 on Mt. Lumot in Gingoog City by members of the Davao-based Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF).
It was the PEF that released Minalwang into the Mt. Balatukan Range Natural Park, also in Gingoog City, on Aug. 15, after it underwent rehabilitation for two years in a facility.
Two years ago, the wounded eagle was rescued in Barangay Minalwang in Claveria, Misamis Oriental, by DENR personnel received reports from local tribesmen, the PAWB said.
Minalwang’s release into the wild in August was conducted with fanfare by the PEF, DENR and PAWB, the Gingoog City government, tribal representatives and local officials supporting the protection, conservation and monitoring of the world’s second largest bird of prey.
The PEF tracked the eagle after the satellite transmitter attached to its back stopped sending signals.
The Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) , once described by American aviator Charles Lindbergh as “the world’s noblest flier,” is categorized as a critically endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
First posted 12:47 am | Sunday, October 20th, 2013
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