OPTIMISM

SG President’s visit hopes to open investment for eagles

More than just opening the doors to its first ever foreign head of state visitor in Singapore President Halimah Yacob, the Philippine Eagle Center sees the visit as a possible door-opening to facility development investors.

EDGE DAVAO NEWS

President Yacob arrived on Tuesday (September 10) in Davao City and among the activities she will be attending is the briefing and tour at the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) in Malagos on Wednesday (September 11).

“I hope though that through this spotlight it will open investments on facility development and more importantly, it’s doing more to protect the species in the wild. This, in turn, means investing on protecting our forests and attending to the welfare of human communities in the upland,” Dennis Salvador, PEF executive director told Edge Davao in a text message.

In July this year, two Philippine eagles, a 15-year-old male named Geothermica and a 17-year-old female named Sambisig were welcomed in Singapore as part of a breeding loan agreement to increase the eagles’ population. The two eagles are now housed at Jurong Bird Park, which is managed by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).

“Eagles in Singapore are doing well,” Salvador said.

Salvador said this project has been proposed to the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) 10 years ago as part of a larger risk management program for the species’ population.

The DENR and WRS signed the loan conservation agreement in May this year.

Geothermica and Sambisig are both captive-bred, which means they are more accustomed to human activities. Apart from being in excellent health, these eagles are considered to be in their breeding prime.

The two have already been undergoing a “pairing attempt process” at the center. Geothermica and Sambisig have been adopted birds for over five years by Energy Development Corp. (EDC) and Dow Chemical Philippines, Inc. respectively.

Salvador also shared that they will be submitting a position paper to the City Mayor’s Office, Vice Mayors Office, and City Planning Office to re-classify PEC’s area from an agricultural production area.

Salvador said PEC’s area and its environs are designated as agricultural production area which makes the eagles vulnerable to toxins, human disturbances and many more.

He said their position is mainly to re-classify PEC from an agricultural production area to designate a 50 meter buffer zone around the PEC as “screen wall” against environmental threats; and an additional 500 meter agricultural non-tillage zone around the facility as added safety zone.

Couched in a sprawling 8.4-hectare area located at Malagos in Baguio District, Davao City and situated within the Malagos Watershed, PEC primarily operates as a conservation breeding facility for the critically endangered Philippine Eagle and other birds of prey.

Also part of Yacob’s itinerary is a dialogue with Mindanao Youth at the Ateneo De Davao University (ADDU).