Friday, July 17, 2015

Active Philippine Eagle Nest Found In A Forest In Apayao Province

The Philippine Eagle (also known as the monkey-eating eagle or haribon) has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered. This is the highest risk category assigned for wild species. So it was great news indeed when an expedition by the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) into the forests of Apayao culminated with the discovery of an active nest of the endangered bird in said province.

In a report published on the foundation's website by Jayson Ibanez (PEF Director for Research and Conservation), the discovery of the eagle nest occurred on April 24, 2015. A lone downy chick was found in the nest. The discovery is historic because it's the first active nest ever found within Luzon. It also completely debunks the claim that Philippine Eagles can't thrive in the mountains and forests of Luzon.

Finding the nest wasn't a walk in the park. According to Ibanez, PEF biologists and Isnag research assistants spent around 3,456 hours worth of observation time before they got a break in the form of an eagle carrying a decapitated prey within the town of Calanasan. They tracked and observed the eagle for three days before they were able to find its nest.

PEF biologists and their research assistants have been scouring the skies and forests of Apayao in the summers of four consecutive years. During this time, they've spotted eagles but it was the expedition this year that yielded a nest discovery.
Photo by Tatiana Rose Abano of the Philippine Eagle Foundation
The existence of Philippine Eagles in the province of Apayao has been well-documented in the past. In 1985, government soldiers shot one and wounded another in Calanasan. In three consecutive years (2010, 2011, 2012), the eagles were spotted within Calanasan, Pudtol, and Kabugao. The discovery of an active nest this year is without a doubt a huge leap in the effort to protect and conserve the endangered birds.