Eagle 'Minalwang' dies of infection-A A +A
Sunday, October 20, 2013
DAVAO CITY -- The Philippine eagle named Minalwang was not shot as reported by news websites, but rather died from infection as a result of having been captured apparently on the belief that turning the eagle over to authorities will earn the captors some money.
"Necropsy showed infection," Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) executive director Dennis I. Salvador said. "We suspect it must have been aggravated by stress of capture by locals who took the bird to Claveria on the 7th of October."
Minalwang was released just last August after two years of rehabilitation at the Philippine Eagle Center in Malagos, Davao City. It was freed at the forested slopes of Mt. Balatukan Natural Park at sitio San Isidro, Barangay Lonutan in Gingoog City, some 43 minutes up the mountains from the city's business district.
Minalwang first arrived at the eagle center in Malagos on October 19, 2011, emaciated at just 3.1 kilos and estimated to be a year old.
The eagle was captured by a farmer in Barangay Minalwang of Claveria town in Misamis Oriental and kept in a cage where it was fed rats, snakes and chicken.
Datu Rico Pinaander learned about the captive eagle and reported this to Gingoog City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) on October 17, 2011.
The Cenro came over to take the eagle but the farmer refused to hand it over, demanding payment for keeping the eagle alive.
The Cenro did as demanded, and that act would have signaled Minalwang's death two years later.
The PEF discourages giving money to retrieve an eagle as this will send the message that there is money in capturing eagles. Instead, the foundation encourages communities to report eagle sightings and nest sites, and provides livelihood and environment protection projects to the community who does so that the residents themselves learn to protect the eagles.
Minalwang was kept captive by couple Ruel Sumilla and Marilou Ocampo-Sumilla who demanded to be paid for them to turn over the eagle.
"They wanted money for the bird but got nothing form us except a stern lecture," Salvador said.
Minalwang was found dead on October 11 shortly after release from capture by the locals, Salvador said.
The release on Mt. Balatukan last August 15 was attended by both local and national environment officials who urged people to protect the eagles.
Gingoog City Councilors Myrna Motoomull and Melleanette Mercado, who witnessed the release, vowed to facilitate the passage of an ordinance enhancing protection of the natural park. A ritual was even observed by tribal datus on the morning of the release, which was witnessed by Sun.Star Davao.
Minalwang is the fourth eagle released but killed by man soon after.
The legs of Kagsabua released on Mt. Kitanglad Natural Park in Sumilao, Bukidnon on March 2008 was found buried near a river in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon four months later. Its confessed killer Bryan Balaon was meted six months in jail for the case that spanned more than three years.
Hagpa, released on June 2010, was shot dead four months later.
Also believed killed is Hineleban, who was released in Mt. Kitanglad in October 2009, after a male eagle carcass was found in Barangay Lupiagan in Bukidnon, Bukidnon on January 15, 2010. (Sun.Star Davao)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 21, 2013.