PEF biologists find newly hatched RP eagle chick
() - April 24, 2005 - 12:00am
Thirteen years after a Philippine Eagle was first observed soaring over the forests of Mati, Davao Oriental, a nest holding a newly-hatched chick was located by a team of Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) biologist on March 19 during an expedition for an extensive conservation project that seeks to preserve the endangered eagle and the remaining forests in Central and Eastern Mindanao.

The project, titled Project Mal’lambugok after the Mandaya word for the eagle, aims to locate, map and study Philippine Eagles and nests in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley and supplements a congruent effort to protect the area known as the Eastern Mindanao Corridor (EMC), which includes more than half of the remaining forest in Mindanao. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) partners with the PEF in the implementation of both projects.

The nest and chick were found in Barangay Cabuaya in Mati, Davao Oriental on March 19, the second day of the PEF’s survey to research for a pair of Philippine Eagles that has been reported to reside in the area. The first eagle sighting was in 1993, with another in 1997. Though the PEF had made several short visits to the area over the years, it was only now that the nest was located.

During a reconnaissance mission, one of the parent eagles was seen gliding above the forest grasping a large, unidentified prey item, which it delivered to a nearby tree. Suspecting the eagle was feeding on offspring, the team searched for the nest, and confirmed the presence of a Philippine Eagle chick estimated to be a little over a month old.

Cabuaya barangay councilors Melanio Dimdim and Alan Guias, who accompanied the team during the survey, were excited about the discovery as this indicated the good health of the forests in their locality. The eagle’s presence highlighted Davao Oriental’s status as a species-rich critical conservation area, holding the second highest record of the Philippine Eagle sightings among PEF’s research areas, second only to Bukidnon.

The Eastern Mindanao Corridor, which extends across Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and five other provinces in Mindanao’s eastern coast, is considered an important conservation area as it is one of the last remaining forest blocks in the country. It hosts a wide variety of wildlife, including the critically endangered Philippine Eagle of which only 500 pairs are estimated to exist today. "Small patches of forest may not be able to sustain the needs of the Filipino people and Philippine wildlife in the long run" PEF executive director Dennis Salvador explained. "What we need to do is to protect the large, continuous forest like the EMC and expand the smaller patches by rehabilitating the surrounding areas and developing forest corridors" the PEF has employed the corridor approach to connect three forest islands in the Arakan Valley are in Cotabato Province.

The mayors of 12 municipalities in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley have given their support to Project Mal’lambugok. Thee research project started in February 2005 and will run for three years.

ARAKAN VALLEY BARANGAY CABUAYA CENTRAL AND EASTERN MINDANAO DAVAO ORIENTAL DAVAO ORIENTAL AND COMPOSTELA VALLEY EAGLE EASTERN MINDANAO CORRIDOR PHILIPPINE PHILIPPINE EAGLE PHILIPPINE EAGLES PROJECT MAL
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