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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Local officials freed a Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) found by a villager in a Zamboanga del Norte town in December.
“Godod,” the female eagle named after the town where it was found and taken care of for weeks, was released back to the wild at 10:30 am on Monday, January 10.
The mature eagle, estimated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) to be five years old, was saved by a villager identified as Antad Bacang in Godod town.
A soldier from the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion, Sergeant Ronald Maghuyop, then took the then injured eagle and handed it over to DENR authorities late in the evening of December 16, 2021.
Community Environment and Natural Resources officer Dionisio Rago said the eagle had wing injuries when they examined and subjected it to tests the following morning.
Aside from the injuries, it had also gotten weak at that time, according to veterinarian Efren Dawin.
For weeks, veterinarians took care of Godod, fed it with rabbit and goat meat or beef.
When it was released, it weighed 5.5 kilograms and certified fit. Its body mass was within normal range, was well hydrated, and all its vital signs normal after having recovered from its injuries.
Godod Mayor Abel Matildo led a group of DENR officials, PEF biologists Roel Taraya and Rene Baquiano, and tribal leaders in freeing the recovered eagle.
Members of the Timuay tribe in three villages have volunteered to help in protecting Philippine eagles and other endangered species in the province. The Philippine eagles used to be hunted for food or killed as an offering to deities who had thought their villages would be blessed with good harvests in exchange. –Rappler.com
Frencie Carreon is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship