There are only about 400 Philippine eagles in the wild, and, with the loss of Chick no. 29 due to a snake bite in April, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) is keen to protect what is left of the bird population. It is currently seeking PHP56 million (US$1.06 million) in funding to build a new center away from the threats of avian flu and increasing human activity around its current site in Davao City.
The PEF said that they are eyeing a location within the city and added that the government may provide 50 hectare of lands for its new sanctuary.
Although the city of Davao itself has not recorded a case of avian flu, the town of Magsaysay in Davao del Sur, which is 90 kilometers southwest of the eagle center, poses a risk to the 34 eagles under the PEF’s care.
The emergence of game farms within the area has also put the current center at a high risk of infection.
Although the plan is reportedly still in its initial stages, the relocation is aimed to establish a sanctuary that is more conducive for conservation activities and breeding.
Increasing the population of the birds is a challenging order in itself. The Philippine eagle is one of the rarest in the world and only lays a single egg every one to two years, while eaglets take five to seven years to sexually mature.