'Pag-asa' now a dad
DAVAO CITY, Philippines - After 21 years, the iconic Philippine eagle, Pag-asa, has finally sired an offspring, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) happily announced.
Pag-asa is the first Philippine Eagle bred and hatched in captivity.
PEF said the 158-gram chick hatched on February 9 assisted by Anna Mae Sumaya, the PEF’s curator for conservation breeding.
"The chick hatched from a breeched position so I had to help it to avoid damaging the vital veins that could potentially cause its death," Sumaya said.
"Normally, chicks peep through the upper part of the egg, the broad end, where the air space is located. But in this case, the chick started to crack the shell on its side. Sumaya decided to assist the chick to keep it hurting or even killing itself.
The chick completely hatched at 1:55am, about 48 hours after it began to break its shell," the PEF explained.
The eaglet’s mother is Kalinawan (Peace), a 29-year old Philippine Eagle rescued in Zamboanga del Sur, PEF said.
"Kalinawan, already imprinted on humans when rescued, adapted well at the center and easily took on a human surrogate. She was inseminated with Pag-asa’s semen through cooperative artificial insemination. This chick is, thus, the first of third of generation of Philippine eagles bred at the Philippine Eagle Center," the PEF said.
Dennis Salvador, PEF executive director, said this recent accomplishment underscores the reality that breeding eagles in captivity remains difficult.
"We are certainly a long way off in coping with losses in the wild. The Philippine eagles and their forest habitat continue to be imperiled by man-made activities like logging, mining and other development projects," Salvador said.
Environmentalists have consistently criticized large-scale mining and logging operations especially in Mindanao as major culprits in the destruction of the environment.
"While we celebrate this recent achievement, we are still worried about the fate of the Philippine eagles in the wild. We breed Philippine eagles to replace population losses in the wild but we are uncertain of their safety once they are released. They are constantly under threat of human persecution," Salvador said.
Salvador commented that restoring the habitat of the eagles is vital in restoring its population.
"We have invested a lot of time, effort and resources to conserve this majestic species but we still need more help to really restore the Philippine eagles’ population and its natural habitat," Salvador said. - Rappler.com