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Another Philippine Eagle killed in Mangayon, Compostela Valley, Davao de Oro


The lifeless gaze of a once mighty forest predator of Compostela Mountains  whose life was cut-short by a senseless shooting.


Compostela, Davao de Oro. On the afternoon of July 8, 2024, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) received a report from Mr. Elyjun Acedo of the DENR-PENRO Davao de Oro about an injured Philippine Eagle. The eagle was under the custody of the Philippine Army patrol base in Barangay Mangayon, Compostela. According to Sgt. Badon, the patrol led by 2nd Lt. Cabajar discovered the weakened eagle with an apparent left-wing injury on the ground in Bermuda, a part of Barangay Mangayon. With help from the local indigenous community, the troop transported the injured eagle to the nearest detachment and contacted the DENR offices for further assistance.


Upon confirmation of the report, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) dispatched a rescue team led by Senior Animal Keeper Dominic Tadena alongside PEF Senior Biologist Rowell Taraya from Davao City to Compostela Valley to retrieve the injured eagle for further medical examination. Meanwhile, the Philippine Army personnel and DENR staff transferred the eagle, named "Mangayon," from the patrol base to the Compostela Municipal Hall, where they met the PEF rescue team.


In-situ photo of unresponsive Philippine eagle “Mangayon” during preliminary assessment taken by PEF Senior animal keeper, Dominic Tadena, last July 8, 2024, at Compostela Valley Municipal Hall.


Upon the team's arrival, the eagle was being cradled by a soldier, lying on his lap with its leg tied with nylon and covered with a red shirt. The eagle appeared lethargic. Before placing the hood, Dominic assessed Mangayon and observed that the bird was unresponsive, with its right eye partially dilated. Further inspection confirmed that the eagle is male, with a prominent open injury on its left wing. The initial assessment revealed that the eagle weighed five kilograms and had a body condition score of 1 (BCS1), indicating slight thinness and dehydration.


The initial assessment also revealed a bulging crop on the eagle. In an interview, Sgt. Badon disclosed that they had fed the bird earlier that afternoon using a smaller bird as food, though he did not provide details on the feeding method.


 PEF Senior Animal Keeper Dominic Tadena conducting preliminary assessment on Philippine Eagle “Mangayon”


Racing against time, the team applied antiseptic to Philippine Eagle “Mangayon” and secured his injured wing for transport. They briefly met with the municipal mayor, Hon. Levi S. Ebdao, before rushing back to Davao. During the journey, Mangayon intermittently vomited foul-smelling oral discharges, which were undigested food from his crop. Apart from the occasional discharges, Mangayon remained lethargic during the entire trip.


Upon arrival in Davao, the eagle underwent a series of physical and medical examinations. The medical assessment revealed severe damage, with shattered bones observed in the left tarsal joints. The attending veterinarian, Dr. Bayani Vandenbroeck, discovered an entry wound in the left tarsal area of the eagle's wing, which exited through the opposite side and extended to the left keel area of Mangayon's wing. During the procedure, Mangayon began discharging foul fluids and solid materials from his mouth, which were identified as an undigested half-cooked chick. At 9:49 PM, Mangayon succumbed to his injuries and was declared deceased.

 

The necropsy results revealed that Mangayon was a healthy male eagle with all internal organs in good condition. The primary cause of death was severe blood loss from the wounds in the left wing, with a high probability of sepsis stemming from the injuries.

 

This is the 20th case of eagle rescue since 2020, or a rate of 5 birds per year, which remains high. This is the 4th case of rescue in 2024, with Eagle “Lipadas” rescued in Mt. Apo in January, and eagles “Kalatungan” of Bukidnon and “Nariha Kabugao” in Apayao last March. Like the eagle from Compostela, these birds were also victims of gunshot.


An x-ray showing the fractured wing of Philippine Eagle “Mangayon”


The Philippine Eagle Foundation appealed for increased government intervention to save our critically endangered national bird.

 

"We really need to level up our interventions, but we need to do it soon”, said Mr. Dennis Salvador, PEF Executive Director. “But we would mostly need LGU and national government actions and investment. The civil society sector can only do so much. We need government political will and action. There should also be additional financing to a systematic and nationwide species survival campaign before it’s too late for our national bird”, the veteran eagle conservationist added.

 



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