Philippine Eagle Center reports new hatchling
Posted March 8, 2010on:
By Anna Valmero
First Posted 17:18:00 03/08/2010
Filed Under: Animals, Conservation
MANILA, Philippines – A baby Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) hatched in Davao City, the 23rd eaglet born under the Philippine Eagle Foundation’s (PEF) conservation breeding program.
Dubbed “Chick No. 23,” the new eaglet is an offspring of rescued eagle pair Tsai and Princess Maasim, which are both 30 years old, PEF executive director Dennis Salvador said Monday.
About the size of a baseball and weighing 137.5 grams, the chick hatched, with some assistance, at 6:12p.m. Sunday. The newly hatched chick is currently fed small amounts of ground meat every four hours, he noted.
Chick No. 23 marks a new chapter in PEF’s breeding history, said Salvador, because the group will start implementing its revised “rearing and release protocols” with the new chick.
Changes in rearing protocols—such as minimizing contact of the eagles to humans by making the caretakers wear hood and robes similar to a parent Eagle or having the chick reared by couple Eagles—are essential to increase the survival rates of captive-bred eagles when released or re-introduced in the wild, explained Tatit Quiblat, PEF communications officer.
Captive-bred and rescued eagles released back to the wild do not seem averse to humans and have been reported frequenting communities and in plain sight of human population. This behavior has left the eagles vulnerable to persecution as with Kagsabua, a captive-bred eagle, which was made into soup by a resident close to the Mt. Kitanglad release site in 2008.
Alongside this, PEF is intensifying its education and information campaigns to schools and communities near potential release sites to ensure the released birds will not be hunted, she said.
If the eaglet continues to grow healthy, it will be released to the wild just before it reaches two years old, said Quiblat.
Presently, the PEF is looking for partners to sponsor and support the release program of Chick No. 23, including the provision of temporary holding area to train the chick to hunt before it is released in the wild and monitoring teams to track the bird in its release site.
“The sponsor for Chick No. 23 will have the privilege of naming the eaglet,” said Quiblat.
The PEF is responsible for producing eagle icon Pag-asa in 1992, Kabayan in 2004 and 20 other Philippine Eagles.