Sad news for Philippine wildlife: after having just hatched in December, the Philippine Eagle Foundation’s (PEF) resident chick has passed away.
Chick no. 29, who stole the hearts of users on social media, was found lifeless after reportedly suffering from a snake bite.
The foundation confirmed Chick no. 29’s demise on its Facebook page.
“On the morning of April 5, 2022, we found juvenile Philippine eagle Chick 29 lifeless on the floor of its enclosure. Based on the surveillance footage, Chick 29 was preyed on by a python. The incident happened despite the protective measures we set up.”
“Avian Flu is not the only danger that the Philippine eagles face in our current facility. Resident snakes in the area also pose a threat to eaglets, other raptors, and mammals,” PEF added.
The foundation had been mulling a lockdown of its Philippine Eagle Center in Davao for the past few weeks amid reports of bird flu cases in Davao del Sur and Sultan Kudarat.
In January, the PEF had posted a wholesome video of Chick no. 29 being fed with an eagle hand puppet, which made the rounds online.
Chick no. 29 was the latest chick to have hatched at the Philippine Eagle Center, five years after the last eaglet, Sakura, was born. He held the fastest pip-to-hatch record at 25 hours and 13 minutes after his beak first poked out of the egg.
Chick no. 29 was the offspring of Ariela and MVP Matatag, adopted eagles of the Ariela Marketing Co. and PLDT, respectively.
His birth was considered a welcome development in the conservation of Philippine eagles, one of the rarest birds in the world. Philippine eagles take five to seven years to sexually mature, and only lay a single egg every two years.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that there are only 400 Philippine eagles in the wild.