THE Philippine Eagle Center rescued a one-eyed Philippine Eagle at Lipadas River on January 2, 2024.
According to the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), they Initially planned to rescue the two-year-old Philippine Eagle Lipadas in December of 2023 after they received a Gratuitous Permit (GP) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that was issued on December 14, 2023. However, most of the biologists at PEF already took their holiday leave hence the trapping was rescheduled to January 2024.
In order not to lose the interest of Lipadas, the forest guards provided the eaglet with sustenance. However, several residents in the area reported that Lipadas has already been eating their poultry such as native chicken thus, the PEF scheduled an emergency trapping activity on January 2, 2024.
A group of 11 individuals set off on January 1, 2024 to conduct the rescue operations for Philippine Eagle Lipadas.
At around 12 noon on January 2, 2024, Lipadas landed directly at the trap and was safely caught.
Once caught, the team immediately went to the clinic to have the eagle thoroughly assessed.
Dr. Bayani Vandenbroeck together with the captive breeding team of PEF conducted a thorough assessment on Lipadas.
The eaglet weighed around 4.3 kilograms which confirms that he is a male eagle, both of its tail and feathers were complete, and he had no ectoparasite. However, there a few molten feathers have been observed to be growing.
“Eagle seems to be healthy except for the blind (right) eye. Eyeball is completely gone on the right side. On the left, externally the eye appears normal but inside it seems changes are happening. Also, the eagle might eventually be completely blind….But no bullet wounds or evidence of any other recent physical injuries. Bones seem intact also; no evidence of fractures. Body condition score is fourth-fifth, and (bird) appears to have extra fats,” Dr. Vandenbroeck said in his initial assessment.
Jayson Ibañez, director for Research and Conservation at PEF, said that before Philippine Eagle Lipadas crashed last October 4, 2022, the locals along Lipadas River heard the sound of a “jolen gun” although they were not able to gather proof concerning this.
The eaglet was capable of flying but its mobility — specifically from tree to tree – appeared to be ‘awkward’. The then ten-month-old Lipadas was confirmed to have an injury in his right eye and was heavily dependent on his parents when he should have been independent.
At two years old Lipadas was still reliant on his parents for nourishment and forest guards would often hear him making “food begging” calls.
“Hindi na siya fit to live in the wild, nasa Philippine Eagle Center na po siya but he can still live a good life (He is no longer fit to live in the wild, he is now at the Philippine Eagle Center but he can still live a good life),” Ibañez said in a video uploaded by Ruth Galario Palo on February 1, 2024.
Unfortunately, the right blind eye of Lipadas can no longer be cured, Ibañez expressed that the ophthalmologist suggested letting the eye be but the left eye of the eaglet is still good and has no issues.
Ibañez stressed that the use of “jolen guns' ' to hurt Philippine Eagles has been a huge problem since many eagles have been hurt by these guns which can be reflected in the x-rays and local reports to PEF. RGP