A Philippine Eagle was accidentally caught in a native trap intended for wild chickens on June 5, 2019 in Brgy. Carayacay, Maslog, Eastern Samar by a 13-year old son of a farmer named Noel Labong.
Maslog Vice Mayor Hon. Septemio C. Santiago reported the incident to DENR 8 through CENRO personnel on June 20, 2019. Five days later, a composite team from the PEF, DENR 8 and the Biodiversity Management Bureau-DENR went to Maslog to retrieve the eagle for examination and rehabilitation.
Initial check- up by the vets revealed that the Philippine Eagle weighed 4.3 kgs, suggesting that it might be female (female eagles are generally heavier than males). It was also considered to be in a good condition overall, although slightly dehydrated and a little underweight. No injury was also seen on the bird apart from a mild rope burn on its right leg and a minor bruise on its right wing joint. The eagle was turned over to the Philippine Eagle Foundation for further health assessment and is now undergoing rehabilitation at the Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) in Davao City.
The Philippine Eagle was named “Maslog E.S.” by the local government of Maslog. She is also the second Philippine Eagle to be rescued in Samar in 10 years after Philippine Eagle Calbiga.
RESCUING MASLOG ES
Getting to Maslog where the Philippine Eagle was temporarily housed and bringing her to the PEC is everything but easy. The PEF team, composed of Veterinarian Dr. Ana Lascano, Animal Keeper Dodong Oxales, and Field Technician Rene Bacquiano traveled 27 hours in total. This includes an 8-hour river boat ride from Dolores town to Maslog, and back; over six hours of sea crossing between Surigao City and Southern Leyte, and a land trip on board an airconditioned pick-up for the rest of the way.
During transport, the eagle’s eyes were covered by a leather hood to calm it, with its wings securely folded close to its body by an elastic body wrap. Masking tape was also wrapped around its claws lest it accidentally grabs its handlers. Like a calm baby, the staff took turns cradling the bird while in transit for Davao City.
“We are relieved to see that the Philippine Eagle was turned over to proper authorities and that we were able to assess its conditions quickly. Proper coordination is crucial, especially in cases where an endangered species is involved. If mishandled, the eagle could have suffered more injuries or could have fallen sick,” said Atty. Crizaldy M. Barcelo, DENR 8 Regional Executive Director.
Following this incident, the local government of Maslog suggested that an education outreach be held soon so that the residents of Maslog living close to the forests are aware of the need to conserve and protect its resident Philippine Eagles.
“Educating the surrounding communities is standard procedure in places where eagles have been rescued from. Finding the eagle parents of Maslog ES and their nest/s in the forests of Samar is critical now more than ever,” said PEF Executive Director Dennis Salvador. “Generations of Philippine eagle pairs can use the same nesting site across the years. Protecting such ancient sites of reproduction are therefore important to keep the bloodline of Philippine Eagles in Maslog alive” he added.
Philippine Eagle Maslog E.S. will be staying under the PEF’s care for further medication and rehabilitation.