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Heightened Biosecurity Measures

Philippine Eagle Center on Heightened Biosecurity Alert on Bird Flu Outbreak

March 28, 2022

DAVAO CITY – Avian Influenza or Bird Flu is a clear and present danger to our National Bird. In the event this highly pathogenic disease hits Davao City, the Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) will again have to close its gates and resort to lockdown and quarantine. The PEC holds 5% of the global population of Philippine eagles and they are at risk of being wiped out by this disease.

Already, the City Veterinarian’s Office of Davao had alerted the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) on the threat of Avian Flu recently detected in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat. On March 14 2022, the City Government of Tacurong ratified Executive Order No. 06 that created a task force to address the presence of Avian Influenza (type A H5N1) in the city. The distance between the PEC and Tacurong is approximately 110 kilometers. The distance is a mere day trip for migratory bird species and a 4-hour trip by land.

Type A H5N1 is highly contagious and lethal to birds. This is of grave concern to the PEF whose mandate is to protect and preserve the already critically endangered Philippine eagle, its population in the wild and the species' only captive breeding stock at the PEC. The PEF has responded to the threat and initiated stricter precautionary measures.

The PEF’s Conservation Breeding Program, whose staff has daily close contact with the animals at the PEC, is intensifying all isolation, sanitation, and waste disposal protocols. The PEC has its own isolation areas mainly utilized for quarantining rescued Philippine eagles and separating its animals with concerning behavior or health indicators. But with the looming threat, the ideal isolation facility must be away from the PEC. The PEF is working to secure a temporary quarantine facility in another location in Davao City.

An Outbreak Management Plan has been adopted to complement the center’s biosafety protocols.

With the threat of disease already at our doorstep, wildlife, human lives, and means of livelihood for many communities are at risk. In turn, the economy and the environment are in jeopardy. The PEF calls on the concerned authorities, communities, and individuals for their cooperation in this state of biosecurity emergency; although nearly crushed by the COVID19 pandemic, the PEF calls on the Davao and Mindanao community to rise up and work together to fight this emerging threat!

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