Editorial - Saving the species
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2013 - 12:00am

The birth of a Philippine Eagle in captivity is so rare it is cause for national celebration. The eaglet, aptly named “Mabuhay” the other day by an anonymous sponsor, is less than a week old, but seems healthy enough to raise hopes that it will thrive in captivity, like the Philippine Eagle that sired it, Pag-asa.

It took 21 years for Pag-asa, an eagle bred in captivity, to produce a healthy offspring with Kalinawan, a female eagle rescued in Zamboanga. The Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City had to use artificial insemination, and then assist the eaglet through the 48 hours that it took to break out of its shell. Aware of the frailty of the chick, the center waited four days to announce its hatching.

The unnamed sponsor will help provide the needs of Mabuhay. Several other eagles at the center are also being offered for “adoption” or sponsorship by the Philippine Eagle Foundation, which is at the forefront of efforts to conserve and propagate the endangered giant raptor. The PEF estimates that there are only about 1,000 Philippine Eagles left, mostly in the wilds of Mindanao and Samar in the Visayas; the estimate includes the ones at the Davao center.

The difficulty of bringing Mabuhay to life reflects the challenges of saving the endangered species. The Philippines is blessed with high biodiversity, but many species of both flora and fauna are in danger of disappearing forever and several have been declared extinct.

Saving endangered species requires dedication, commitment and resources, including funds and expertise. The government has had to rely on groups such as the PEF to save and propagate certain species. Like the tamaraw, the Philippine Eagle is unique to the country and its conservation has attracted the interest of private sponsors. Many other species, however, do not enjoy such attention and face extinction.

Even the Philippine Eagle, despite its celebrity, remains endangered because of the destruction of its natural forest habitat. Mabuhay has now joined Pag-asa and Kalinawan as the faces of hope for saving the Philippine Eagle. Unless the raptor’s natural habitats are also preserved, however, extinction will be inevitable.

DAVAO CITY EAGLE EVEN THE PHILIPPINE EAGLE KALINAWAN MABUHAY MINDANAO AND SAMAR PAG PHILIPPINE PHILIPPINE EAGLE PHILIPPINE EAGLE CENTER PHILIPPINE EAGLE FOUNDATION
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