Philippine Eagle Pag-asa turns 25
(The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2017 - 12:54am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Pag-asa, the first Philippine Eagle successfully hatched and bred in captivity, turned 25 yesterday.

Pag-asa is the first to be produced under the captive breeding program of the non-profit Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) through the combined artificial and natural incubation technique taught by the World Center for Birds of Prey.

The Philippine Eagle was declared the country’s national bird, replacing the maya, in 1995 by then  president Fidel Ramos. 

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who also chairs PEF, said that through the years Pag-asa has been a big help in increasing awareness on the importance of the Philippine Eagle to the environment.

He stressed that the continued existence of the giant raptors would help in preserving the remaining forested areas in the country, the forest being their natural habitat. 

“Pag-asa symbolizes hope that inspires us to continue with the captive breeding program and other PEF programs to put a stop to the dwindling population of the Philippine Eagle,” Dominguez said. 

The PEF runs the Philippine Eagle Center in Barangay Malagos, Calinan District here where Pag-asa is kept in a large dome cage. It has hatched 28 Philippine Eagles although a number of them have not survived.

While Pag-asa is already 25 years old, officials say the bird is still unsuitable for release to the wild and would remain in captivity for some time as it has developed dependency on its human keeper.

In 2013, when it was only 21, Pag-asa also made history by laying her first chick on Feb. 9 through artificial insemination. Her offspring was named Mabuhay.

The population of Philippine Eagles is estimated at below 500 pairs, with 36 kept at the Malagos center. Most of the remaining Philippine eagles have been sighted in the forests of Mindanao, Samar, Leyte and the Cordilleras. 

Aside from breeding eagles, PEF also promotes its “adopt-an-eagle” program to invite individuals or groups to contribute at least P150,000 each year for the upkeep of the raptors.

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