PEF bares challenges during COVID-19 pandemic

The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) noted an unprecedented spike in Philippine Eagle rescues since April 2020, with up to ten eagles in just one year.

PEF believes this is evident of the troubling frequency of humans encountering eagles in the forests and that the eagles are still being shot and trapped.

The increase in rescues and financial challenges faced by PEF during the coronavirus pandemic are expected to create an impact in the mission.

“PEF has yet to recoup the losses from the entrance fees and will not be able to do so soon with the ongoing crisis,” PEF Director Dennis Salvador said, even if the Philippine Eagle Center has re-opened after shutting down for almost seven months

Salvador also took note of the diminished financial support from crisis-stricken donors in the private sector.

On top of depleting resources, he said, travel restrictions and health risks also make our fieldwork logistics and mobility even more difficult.

Salvador said the increase in human contact with wildlife resulting from forest encroachment and destruction of wildlife spaces intensifies the risk of diseases to jump from animals to humans according to the World Health Organization.

The spread of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 is a blaring alarm that our exploitation of nature has taken a toll on us, he said. However, wildlife and forest protection are set aside as we confront the consequences of the global pandemic.

These are the issues that will be highlighted during the observance of the Philippine Eagle Week (PEW) from June 4 to 12 this year.

“With the Philippine eagle as our flagship for conservation, we underscore the critical need to invest in actions that not only address the economic impact of COVID-19, but also support the protection of the eagle, its habitat, and our biodiversity in minimizing the risk of future pandemics.”

PEF wants to bring to people’s attention the rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts as emergency response to the eagles that remain vulnerable in the wild.

“We aim to raise funds for two of our rescued Philippine Eagles this year- Salagbanog and Agsamon,” he said.

Philippine Eagle Salagbanog

Philippine Eagle Salagbanog was rescued from Maitum town in Sarangani Province on January 9. He underwent surgery to remove a marble lodged in his shoulder. After months of rehabilitation, he is finally ready to be released back to the wild.

Philippine Eagle Agsamon

Philippine Eagle Agsamon was rescued on February 26. The eaglet was estimated to be around 2-3 months old when it was found and is currently being reared at the Philippine Eagle Center.
The PEF prepared several fundraising initiatives in order to help Salagbanog return home and sustain eaglet Agsamon during its stay at the PEC.

The PEW 2021 is presented by the PEF together with PLDT, Inc., Ulticon Builders, Inc., Energy Development Corp., and with the support of FDC Ultities, Inc.

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