By EARL O. CONDEZA
DAVAO CITY (Updated Sept 3, 5:23PM) – The forest guards of Bantay Gubat in Mount Hamiguitan, where the Philippine Eagle Pamana was released and found killed last month, identified four other possible factors that lead to the death of the Philippine eagle (scientific name: Pithecophaga jefferyi). They looked also at the bird’s readiness to fly.
Roel Colong of Bantay Gubat said that aside from finding out who the perpetrator was and the motive behind Pamana’s killing, his group has also identified four other causal factors that would help the investigation on Pamana’s death.
Colong said they were concerned about the appropriate release site, if there had been enough preparations prior to the release of Pamana to the wilds, if Pamana’s physical readiness to be released had been ascertained, and if there had been an effective and responsive conservation plan.
Colong pointed out in a press conference here Wednesday that when Pamana was reported lost, they did not hear feedback from the forest guards. They received information from reports after Pamana was found dead not more than a kilometer away from his habitat.
Colong said Pamana’s release site “is located within an agro-eco system which means a vegetation type composed of farm lands, farm animals, communities, and natural forests.”
“There were many preparations [prior to the release], which included physical preparation of Pamana,” he added.
“Was Pamana physically fit?” he asked.
Colong said “when she [Pamana] was less than a year old, she was shot twice in the forest in Iligan. She was rescued, treated, and rehabilitated for almost three years.”
Colong said Pamana’s long years staying in an artificial habitat and being fed by humans might have affected the bird’s ability to survive in the wild.
“Her ability to hunt [for] food was a factor, she would be hunting on her own. I just hoped that she was not hunting on farm animals, otherwise she would be put in danger,” he said, adding that farm animals are also sources of livelihood of the owners.
Colong also asked if there was an effective and responsive conservation plan.
“Was there an effective and responsive conservation plan?” he said referring to “reporting, monitoring, feed backing, and collaboration system with all the involved parties in the local government unit.
Bantay Gubat is a group of individuals who are tasked to guard the forest where Pamana was set free. It is funded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and participated by individuals from the local government units where the forest is located.
Meanwhile, Joselin Marcus Fragada of DENR Region XI told reporters they are still investigating deeper the death of the endangered species.
“There are hearsay that there might have been hunters in the area, but the the history of Mt. Hamiguitan, for the past years [says otherwise],” Fragada said.
Fragada added they have identified that the gun used to kill Pamana was an air gun.
“We’d like to find out the regulations of carrying such weapons, I don’t know if you can call it a weapon because it’s an air gun,” he said.
He said “it would be unfair to judge the communities.”
“Kung hunter ka kukunin mo yung prize niyo, tama? That’s my belief. But, I don’t think the intention of killing Pamana was to kill her for sport (If you are a hunter, you will get your prize, right?),” he said.
Pamana was released in the wild on June 12, in the forest of Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental which was declared as a World heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco). Pamana was found dead last August 16 outside her site of release.(With reports from Ace R. Morandante/Reposted by )