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Historic Release of Philippine Eagles in Leyte

BURAUEN, Leyte – As part of the Philippine Eagle Foundation’s (PEF) effort to increase the number of Philippine Eagles in the wild, two of the birds were relocated to Leyte on June 11.

Director of operations at the PEF Dr. Jayson Ibanez emphasized the importance of this translocation, pointing out that it is the first time eagles have been moved from Mindanao to the Visayas.

Ibañez stated, “These eagles will form the founder population in this area.” “In the Mount Anonang Lobi key biodiversity area in Leyte, they aim to restore the Philippine Eagle population.”

The action is a part of PEF’s larger plans to bring these magnificent birds back to the area’s historic nesting places. Eighteen more wild-reared eagles from Mindanao, maybe as far as Samar and Leyte, will be released over the course of the next five years, according to PEF plans.

One eagle was seen in Leyte in 2012 prior to a typhoon hitting the region, although the last recorded sighting of a pair of eagles in the island was in 2007. Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 may have killed all of the eagles on Leyte, according to Ibañez.

Using a Philippine Air Force C-295 cargo aircraft, the two, identified as Uswag and Carlito, were transported from Davao City to Tacloban City. They were then driven to the isolated community of Kagbana, which is 64 kilometers south of Tacloban City, where they were to be released. This project is a component of the PEF’s five-year release schedule.

Since we are relocating a pair of severely endangered eagles for the first time, this is a daring endeavor on our side. It is a significant accomplishment for our conservation efforts, said Ibañez.

There is a special history between Uswag and Carlito, who spent months recovering at the Philippine Eagle Center. Three-year-old Uswag, originally named Sibulan, was saved in 2023 from the Davao City foothills of Mount Apo. A female named Carlito, who was at least five years old, was saved in 2022 from Trento in Agusan del Sur. Prior to their rehabilitation, both eagles suffered bullet wounds.

The PEF said in a briefing that “these eagles represent two different regions and bloodlines.”

Considering that both of the eagles were born in the wild, Ibañez voiced optimism in their survival. The PEF mobilized forest guards, launched awareness campaigns, and put livelihood projects into action over the course of almost nine years in order to get ready for this transplant.

The Leyte forest provides enough food for the eagles, according to surveys, according to Ibañez. To help them adjust before their release on June 28, the eagles are presently housed in a makeshift cage.

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