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Cimatu Reiterates Call To Amend Wildlife Law To Protect PH Eagle

Cimatu Reiterates Call To Amend Wildlife Law To Protect PH Eagle

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Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu renewed his call on lawmakers to amend Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001 to ensure stricter penalties amid the increasing number of Philippine eagle rescues during the pandemic.

Cimatu made the statement following the release of a Philippine eagle named “Godod” in the municipality of Godod, Zamboanga del Norte province on Jan. 10.

“Experts in Philippine eagle biology and ecology deem that the surge in rescues during this time means that culprits are intruding into the forests to hunt for food and as a source of livelihood, thereby causing a disturbance in the forest habitats,” Cimatu said in a news release on Sunday.

“We have to remain vigilant and let the perpetrators know that there are environmental laws they have to face if they continue with such evil deeds. Continuously confronted with such acts, we urge our lawmakers to help us protect the Philippine eagle and other wildlife species,” he added.

Godod, a female Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), was rescued following a report that it was “trapped and in captivity by a resident somewhere in Barangay Bunawan, Godod in Zamboanga del Norte.”

The Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte dispatched a team to immediately rescue the raptor.

After its rescue, the raptor underwent an X-ray as part of the standard operating procedures for rescued birds to reveal if it had sustained fractures and other injuries.

Tests for AI or Avian influenza and NCD or New Castle’s Disease were also undertaken to find out if the bird had contracted any illnesses.

After a thorough and comprehensive examination, the provincial veterinarians of Zamboanga Sibugay recommended that the bird was fit and healthy for release.

DENR-Zamboanga Peninsula officer-in-charge Regional Executive Director and Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Ronald Gadot pointed out that the Philippine Eagle is an “indicator species in terms of assessing the richness of forest ecosystems and biodiversity in an area.”

“As a top predator, the Philippine eagle makes its home where food/prey is abundant. The mountainous areas of Godod harbor wildlife such as monkeys, hornbills, snakes, flying lemurs, wild pigs, wild cats, and a host of other wildlife species which form a major part of its diet. The close canopy of the Dipterocarp forest and its elevation makes the area a perfect home for these eagles to thrive,” Gadot said.

Before its release, the eagle was tagged and installed with a global positioning system or GPS tracker, and the release site was assessed for suitability as a habitat.

The Philippine eagle is a critically endangered species under DENR Administrative Order 2019-09 known as the updated National Lists of Threatened Philippine Fauna and their Categories and in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade for Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES wherein said species is threatened with extinction.

It is also included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (PNA)

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