4th PHL eagle hatched in Zambo Norte forest PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 February 2014 14:33

Environment and Natural Resources secretary Ramon Paje on Thursday expressed elation over the birth of a new Philippine eagle (scientific name ‘Pithecophaga jefferyi’) named ‘Atbalin,’ the fourth eaglet hatched in the forest of Baliguian in Zamboanga del Norte.

“We are very happy on hearing the news that a new Philippine eagle was hatched in the wild. This only shows that the province still has a very good forest cover . I thank the people of Zamboanga del Norte for having taken good care of their natural resources,” he said.

In a report to Paje by the Regional Eagle Watch Team (REWT), DENR-Region 9, the young eagle was hatched on its parents’ nest atop a tree in Barangay Linay on the eve of Dec. 17 last year.

The name ‘Atbalin’ (acronym for “attraction for Brgy. Linay”) was coined by elected local officials led by its chairman and head of the DENR-organized Community Monitoring Group Regin Geografia.

Paje said the arrival of ‘Atbalin’ “is certainly a welcome addition to the dwindling Philippine eagle population in the country.”

He noted Brgy. Linay is a natural habitat for Philippine eagle couple Dionisio and Milia which breeds once every two years.

Previous hatchlings of Dionisio and Milia as monitored by REWT were ‘Fernando’ followed by ‘Binoni Pusaka’ and ‘Mitigam’, he said.

‘Binoni Pusaka’ and ‘Mitigan’ are Subanen names which mean “hidden treasure” and “clever,” respectively.

Dionisio and Milia take care of their offspring for 22 months until the eaglet is ready to leave its parents’ territory to establish a home of its own.

Described by American aviator Charles Lindbergh as “the world’s noblest flier,” the Philippine eagle replaced the maya as the country’s national bird in 1995 by virtue of Proclamation No. 615.

It is categorized as a critically endangered specie or at high risk of extinction under the National List of Threatened Species and by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature for its diminishing number in the wild due to habitat destruction and poaching.

Through the Philippine Raptors Conservation Program of Biodiversity Management Bureau (formerly Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau), DENR partnered with organizations such as Philippine Eagle Foundation, University of the Philippines (UP) and Haribon Foundation in undertaking research, habitat conservation and in educating the public about the important role of the Philippine eagle in maintaining ecological balance and as a national symbol.

As part of the conservation program, which is being implemented in 11 regions nationwide, survey and monitoring activities are being undertaken to document location of breeding pairs and nests in the wild.

New sightings of the national bird in the Cordillera mountain ranges in Apayao and Abra were recorded by DENR-Cordillera Administrative Region and was re-discovered in Leyte by UP.

“These reports of sightings from our partner institutions offer new beacons of hope for the Philippine eagle,” Paje said, reiterating his call for people to continue supporting rehabilitation of the country’s forests through the National Greening Program to ensure continuedexistence of the Philippine eagle that’s also called ‘Haring Ibon’ (King of Birds).

The first sighting of the world’s largest eagle was documented in 1896 in Paranas Island off Samar province.

Its natural habitats such as Northern Sierra Madre, Mt. Kitanglad, Samar Island Natural Park and Mt. Apo have been declared as protected areas.