Eagle sanctuary may lose Heritage designation
(The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2015 - 10:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Local officials in Davao Oriental appealed to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for understanding following the recent killing of one of the endangered Philippine Eagles that might affect the status of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary as a World Heritage Site.

The Philippine Eagle known as Pamana was shot and killed in Mt. Hamiguitan two months after the bird was released into the forest. 

Pamana reportedly sustained gunshot wounds as shown in the necropsy report following the discovery of the bird’s carcass last weekend in Barangay La Union, San Isidro, Davao Oriental.

Dolores Valdesco, head of the Davao Oriental Provincial Natural Heritage Office, expressed concern that the killing of Pamana would affect Mt. Hamiguitan as a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

Mt. Hamiguitan, considered to be one of the country’s forests with rich biodiversity, was recognized last year as the sixth area in the country to be acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Herritage Site after the Cordillera Rice Terraces, Puerto Princesa Underground River, Tubbataha Reefs, Vigan City and the baroque churches.

“We hope that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is the technical arm of the UNESCO on natural properties, would not be quick in condemning local authorities for the death of Pamana. By the continued long presence of very rich biodiversity of Mt. Hamiguitan Range, we have already proven to the world our capability to protect rare, endemic and endangered species as cited in our nomination dossier and in our Statement of Outstanding Universal Value,” Valdesco said.

She also pointed out that the provincial government of Davao Oriental, led by Gov. Corazon Malanyaon, was the proponent for the recognition of Mt. Hamiguitan as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

“Thus, it would be unfair to judge us as incapable of protecting important wildlife species for just that one isolated case,” Valdesco added.

Meanwhile, Philippine Eagle Foundation executive director Dennis Salvador said corresponding charges would be filed against those responsible for the killing of Pamana. He said laws must be enforced in protecting the eagles as the situation calls for going beyond mere education of communities.

“Education alone clearly cannot right away help this situation,” Salvador said.

He said the perpetrator remains unidentified.

Pamana did not last 59 days after it was released to the forest of Mt. Hamiguitan on June 12.

A team had tracked the eagle and found its body a kilometer from where the bird was released.

Pamana’s body bore a five-millimeter hole in the right breast with its shoulder blade broken based on the necropsy result.

The shooting of the Philippine Eagle is a violation of Administrative Order No. 235, s. 1970, which prohibits wounding, taking, selling, exchanging and/or exporting, processing and killing of the Philippine Eagle.

ACIRC ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO BARANGAY LA UNION CONSERVATION OF NATURE CORAZON MALANYAON DAVAO ORIENTAL INTERNATIONAL UNION MT. HAMIGUITAN PAMANA PHILIPPINE EAGLE WORLD HERITAGE SITE
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