DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – A retired police officer on Wednesday, June 1, rescued a young and frail Philippine serpent eagle from a poacher in the village of Macambol in Mati City.
The coastal village is part of a Philippine Eagle Sanctuary declared by the national government. It is part of the Mount Hamiguitan Range and Wildlife Sanctuary, the only World Heritage Site in Mindanao.
The former policeman, Ferdinand Mabandos, invoked a law that protects wildlife when he pressured the poacher to give him the eagle when he saw the man passing through his beach resort.
Mabandos and his wife then handed over the eagle to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Mati, the capital of Davao Oriental province.
The Philippine serpent eagle (Spilornis holospilus), a species endemic to the Philippines, is about two months old, according to Zaldy Lumaan, Mati’s environment and natural resources officer.
It was sickly and was unable to stand, Lumaan said.
Neither was the young eagle responsive to touch, he said, adding that the eagle was hungry and ate a lot of fish.
Although serpent eagles are not classified as endangered species, it is illegal to capture them, especially in the area which is known for its rich biodiversity, he said.
Officials said the young eagle would be sent to a rehabilitation facility for proper care and then released back to the wild the moment wildlife experts see it to be fit.
Compared to other species, the Philippine serpent eagle has more well-defined spots on its wings and lower parts. It is found in the country’s major islands. – Rappler.com