PANDEMIC or not, helping save the Philippine Eagle survive is helping ourselves. This is what the 2021 Philippine Eagle Week (PEW) is emphasizing. The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) firmly believes that our wellbeing is inextricably linked with the health of our forests and wildlife. The increase in human contact with wildlife resulting from forest encroachment and destruction of wildlife spaces intensifies the risk of diseases to jump from animals to humans according to the World Health Organization.
“The spread of zoonotic diseases like Covid-19 is a blaring alarm that our exploitation of nature has taken a toll on us. However, as we confront the consequences of a global pandemic, the protection of wildlife and our forests are set aside,” said Dennis Salvador, PEF director.
With the Philippine eagle as PEF’s flagship for conservation, they underscore the critical need to invest in actions that not only address the economic impact of Covid-19, but also support the protection of the eagle, its habitat, and our biodiversity in minimizing the risk of future pandemics.
With the pandemic, challenges continue to mount for the PEF. While the Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) has re-opened after shutting down for almost seven months, the PEF has yet to recoup the losses from the entrance fees and will not be able to do so soon with the ongoing crisis. There is also the diminished financial support from crisis-stricken donors in the private sector. On top of depleting resources, travel restrictions and health risks also make our fieldwork logistics and mobility even more difficult.
“Amid these challenges, we are faced with an unprecedented spike in Philippine Eagle rescues. Since April 2020, cases have been at the highest with ten eagles in just one year. This tells us of the troubling frequency of humans encountering eagles in the forests and that the eagles are still being shot and trapped. But how do these turn of events -- the increase in rescues and the pandemic impact the mission moving forward?
This PEW 2021, the PEF brings to the forefront the rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts as emergency response to the eagles that remain vulnerable in the wild. They aim to raise funds for two rescued Philippine Eagles this year -- Salagbanog and Agsamon.
Philippine Eagle Salagbanog was rescued from Maitum town in Sarangani Province on January 9. He underwent surgery to remove a marble lodged in his shoulder. After months of rehabilitation, he is finally ready to be released back to the wild.
On February 26, Philippine Eagle Agsamon was rescued. The eaglet was estimated to be around two to three months old when it was found and is currently being reared at the Philippine Eagle Center.
The PEF prepared several fundraising initiatives in order to help Salagbanog return home and sustain eaglet Agsamon during its stay at the PEC.
The PEW kicked off with the online screening of “Bird of Prey” and will run until June 12 via Vimeo. The livestream of the Philippine Eagle Agsamon was also launched on philippineeagelfoundation.org.
Today, June 5, at 1:30 p.m., there is a Live Virtual Tour of the Philippine Eagle Center via Zoom.
June 6 to June 12, will be the BirdMerch sale on philippineeaglefoundation.org/birdmerch
June 10 at 1 p.m., Learn with Malaya via Zoom. Conversation on Conservation: A three-part online dialogue on the Philippine Eagle’s survival in the 21st century via https://www.facebook.com/phileaglefdn
June 10-12. Guest speakers, raptor conservation experts from the US, UK and Australia, will discuss on the pressing threats to the eagle and will explore innovative and practical solutions in the context of a pandemic, climate change, and other foreseeable challenges to biodiversity. Local reactors will also participate in the dialogues.
The release of Philippine Eagle Salagbanog will be confirmed.
The PEW 2021 is presented by the PEF together with PLDT Inc., Ulticon Builders Inc., Energy Development Corp., and with the support of FDC Ultities Inc. (With PR)