Farmer saves wounded Philippine Eagle in North Cotabato | Inquirer News

Farmer saves wounded Philippine Eagle in North Cotabato

/ 07:09 PM November 28, 2013

Philippine Eagle. FILE PHOTO

MAGPET, North Cotabato, Philippines—Personnel from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in North Cotabato took over the care on Thursday of a wounded Philippine Eagle, which was turned over by a farmer who had found it last week.

Inspector Realan Mamon, town police chief, said the eagle was flying over Barangay Amabel here on Saturday when it suddenly fell into a compound in Sitio Lubas, the residence of the unnamed farmer.

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Mamon said the farmer discovered later that the eagle had a wound in the belly.

“Its wound might have come from an air gun normally used by hunters in the area,” he recounted what the farmer had told police when he reported his find on Saturday.

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The police then contacted the DENR so the bird could be retrieved and properly treated.

Rorie Politud, a staff worker of Vice Mayor Efren Piñol, said the eagle turned over to the DENR on Thursday was weakened by its wound.

Politud said the bird, estimated to weigh at least five kilograms, grew in the wilds, explaining its hostile and aggressive stance towards humans.

“No one can just touch it. It was ready to attack each time somebody attempts to touch it,” he said, adding that it could be about six years old already.

Piñol said he was told the bird would be temporarily kept at the North Cotabato provincial veterinary office during its recovery before its eventual release back to the wild.

Mamon said the police were thankful that the Amabel farmer, who took care of the bird, was environmentally conscious and did not think of slaughtering the animal.

Even if hunting down the bird is unlawful, hunters love to shoot down eagles, especially the native species which are large and full of edible meat.

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In May 2012, lumad farmer Bryan Bala-on of Impasugong, Bukidnon, was fined P100,000 by a court after he admitted to killing and cooking Kasagbua, a juvenile Philippine Eagle released back into the wild by the Davao City-based Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), in July 2008.

The case against Bala-on was the first criminal case filed in connection with the killing of a Philippine eagle.

“We proved our case, we won the battle. But the war against people who commit crimes against nature continues,” Dennis Salvador, PEF director, said following the announcement of the sentence.

Under the law, killing a critically endangered species is punishable by imprisonment of between six and 12 years and/or a fine of P100,000 to P1 million under the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act (Republic Act 9147).

The Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) is considered an endangered species because of its rapidly declining population.

At least 400 pairs remain in the wild, according to estimates from both the government and private conservation groups. With a report from Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Animals, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, endangered species, farmer, Hunting, local police, Nature, Philippine Eagle, protected species, Realan Mamon, wildlife, wounded eagle
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