Monday, August 24, 2015

The eagle has fallen: WHO KILLED PAMANA?

The online and offline community broke out with fierce and sentiments last Wednesday (August 19, 2015) while receiving a depressing news that a 3-year-old juvenile Philippine Eagle named "PAMANA" found dead last August 16, 2015 at Mount Hamiguitan Range, declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in San Isidro, Davao Oriental province.

"DAVAO- Her freedom came with a price." - Philippine Daily Inquirer

Pamana (literally means Heritage), (was) a female 3-year-old juvenile Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) rescued by a local farmer from Iligan City [who initially took care of her before turning it over to the authorities as requested by CENRO Iligan and was retrieved for admission to the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) four days after] from Mount Gabuna Range in Iligan City last April 2012 with two gunshot wounds on her left breast and left wing near the elbow joint. It was treated by Dr. Bayani Vandenbroeck.


Photo courtesy of the Philippine Eagle Foundation
Pamana was rehabilitated at the Philippine Eagle Center  in Malagos, Calinan, Davao Oriental for three years and was released into the wilderness at the Heritage Site of Mt. Hamiguitan last June 12, 2014 at 8:35am (PST) with a GPS device and a radio transmitter for a purpose of monitoring and tracking. The day it was released marked the 117th year of independence of the Philippines.

Mt. Hamiguitan Range is a natural eagle habitat located in San Isidro, Davao Oriental covering an approximately 30,000 hectares of forests and is considered both a UNESCO World and ASEAN Heritage Site. It was named the country's sixth World Heritage Site last June 23, 2014.

Pamana's release "was aimed at improving the genetic flow of eagles here and underscore(d) the significance of this mountain range as part of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites" said by the PEF Executive Director Mr Dennis Salvador. Additionally, "The release ends a life of captivity and human dependence and marks the survival and eventual breeding of the Philippine Eagle, reduing the chances of its extinction," said by the PEF Director for Research and Conservation Mr Jayson Ibanez.

IN ADVANCE STATE OF DECOMPOSITION
Pamana's carcass was found in an advance state of decomposition near a creek in Mt. Hamiguitan Range last August 16. Pamana could have died on August 10 based on it's remains, PEF said which sustained a gunshot wound in her right chest approximately 5mm in puncture. The radio transmitter which was attached in her back went into "mortality mode"- which is said to a non-moving activity for six hours. A metal fragment believed to be from a shattered gun pellet was also found from its remains. According to Dr. Ana Lascano, PEF veterinarian, "Pamana suffered from gun shot wound leading to possible trauma."
Pamana was closely monitored through radio signals from a miniature transmitter harnessed on its back and a GPS satellite transmitter. Telemetry showed that she settled at the northeastern forest roughly 1.3 km from the release site. 

LAST CHANCE FOR THE WORLD'S RAREST EAGLE?
A documentary expedition by George Oxford Miller can be found here: < All About Birds >

According to the PEF, there are an estimated 400 pairs of the endangered birds in the wild and are faced with threats of hunting and deforestation. The Foundation has been trying to breed eagles in captivity and successfully hatched 25 eaglets since 1992.

In 2013, a male Philippine Eagle named "Minalwang" was shot dead two months after his released in the wild following two years of rehabilitation.

Another Philippine Eagle by the name of "Hineleban" named after the Foundation met the same fate as that of Pamana.

In July 2008, nearly 4 months from its release last March 6, 2008, "Kagsabua" (A Tribal word for Unity), a 3-year-old male juvenile Philippine Eagle was shot with an air gun while perched on a tree, killed and cooked by a 22-year-old indigenous farmer in Impasug-ong Bukidnon.

In April 22, 2004, "Kabayan", the first captive-bred eagle released into the wild failed to survive after having been released. Kabayan died more than a year after its release inside the Philippine National Oil Co. forest reserves in Ilomavis, Kidapawan City.

FAST FACTS ABOUT THE PHILIPPINE EAGLE
- The Philippine Eagle has a wingspan spreading up to seven feet and is one of the largest raptors in the world.
- Considered as a "Critically-Endangered Species" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
- The country's National Bird
- The world's only blue-eyed bird of prey
- Discovered in 1896
- Also known to form a monogamous bond
- Female lays an egg only once every two years

THE LAW TAKES OVER
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6147 - AN ACT DECLARING THE PITHECOPHAGA JEFFERYI COMMONLY KNOWN AS MONKEY-EATING EAGLE AS A PROTECTED BIRD IN THE PHILIPPINES, PROVIDING FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE SAME AND AUTHORIZING THE APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS FOR THE PURPOSE

Section 1. It is hereby declared that the pithecophaga jefferyi commonly known as the monkey-eating Eagle shall be a protected bird in the Philippines. 

Sec. 2. To insure the proper conservation, preservation and management of the Monkey-eating Eagle, the killing, hunting, wounding or taking away of the same and/or destroying, disturbing, or taking away of the nests or eggs of such a bird, in contravention of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is hereby prohibited and made subject to the penal provisions in Section five hereon.

The Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources shall promulgate rules and regulations for the implementation of this Act within ninety (90) days from and after the effectivity thereof.n preparation of said rules and regulations, the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources shall seek the recommendation of the Director of Parks and Wildlife and the Philippine Wildlife Conservation Foundation. 

Sec. 3. The Director of Parks and Wildlife shall establish sanctuaries as are necessary to preserve this threatened species. For this purpose, the Director of Parks and Wildlife may seek the assistance of the National Science Development Board including private associations or foundations, such as the Philippine Wildlife Conservation Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, for such support, financial grant, or technical cooperation arrangements, as may be necessary or requisite to carry out and effectively implement the provisions of this Act.

Sec. 4. For the expenses in the establishment and maintenance of the sanctuaries, the conduct of studies on the natural habitat, food requirements, predatory-prey control measure and other ecological factors most conducive to the conservation and management of the monkey-eating eagle and other requirements for the implementation of this Act, there is hereby authorized to be appropriated out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) for the first year after the approval of this Act and subsequent appropriations shall included in the General Appropriations Act.

Sec. 5. Any person violating any provision of this Act shall be punished by a penalty of prision correccional or by a fine of not less than six hundred pesos (P600.00), nor more than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00), or by both such imprisonment and fine at the discretion of the Court.n case of any subsequent offense, the court shall impose both the imprisonment and the fine.n case of insolvency, the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment shall be suffered. 

Sec. 6. All Acts, part of Acts, orders, rules and regulations inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed. 

Sec. 7. This Act shall effect upon its approval.



"I truly believe that ecotourism is one of the solutions to save the Philippine Eagle. A PE is really protected only when the local community is protecting it, as they are present 24/7 in the PE's habitat, unlike the DENR who cannot have its employees present all the time in remote forests. A devoted local community will provide many guardians who will enforce the law protecting the PE and police the forest and their own members. Ecotourism financially incentivizes the local community to do so. For example, next month I am going to Spain to check out a big birding outfit's "hide photography" -- 7 permanent hides where they feed several kinds of raptors in order to allow close photography. This may work in protecting specified pairs of PEs, who will feed regularly at a hide run by the local community. The hide will generate significant revenues from birders and tourists, which can be used for conservation purposes and will financially motivate the local community to protect the PEs. And with a steady supply of food, the PEs will be more likely to breed and multiply. While there is a downside that the PEs may become reliant on the food, this is far better than having no PEs at all. The Philippine Eagle Foundation now admits that education, awareness and law enforcement are not enough. Their success rate in releasing PEs into the wild is ZERO, as all PEs released to date have been killed. It is high time that we try something different."- Atty Ramon Quisumbing (Wild Bird Photographers in the Philippines).

With the increase of the reward of P150,000 (One Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos) to find the suspect of Pamana's killing, the question still remains: WHO KILLED PAMANA?

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