It’s not looking too good for the Philippine eagle, the country’s national bird and one of the world’s rarest. After the loss of four-month-old Chick no. 29 from a snake bite in April, the eagles have been dealt another blow to their dwindling numbers after one was found dead in the wild in the province of Sarangani.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) confirmed the sad news.
“A critically-endangered Philippine eagle was found dead at 9:30 this morning along the shoreline of Purok Maguid, Barangay Daliao in Maasim town, Sarangani Province,” the DENR wrote on Monday.
The bird is believed to have died four to five hours before it was found. It did not have a tag or chips on its body when the carcass was inspected.
While the eagle will be sent to the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City for inspection, some suspected the wild eagle may have been the victim of hunting.
In recent years, Philippine eagles — with only an estimated 400 nesting pairs still existing in the wild — have suffered from human persecution as well as logging leading to the destruction of their natural habitats.
The eagles, which are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, face even more threats today.
Earlier this year, the Philippine Eagle Foundation called for the urgent relocation of its eagle breeding pairs due to the threat of avian flu.
The foundation warned that being stricken with the avian flu would add complications to growing the number of Philippine eagles, which take five to seven years to sexually mature and only lay a single egg every two years.