First Endangered Philippine Eagle Hatched in Captivity Dies

Dennis Jay Santos
Davao, Philippines
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First Endangered Philippine Eagle Hatched in Captivity Dies In this file photo, a Philippine eagle named Pag-asa, the first to be bred and hatched in captivity, is perched on a post inside an enclosure at the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) in Davao, Philippines, Feb. 17, 2016.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET on 2021-01-08

The first Philippine eagle bred and hatched in captivity in efforts to conserve the endangered species has died, days shy of its 29th birthday, the raptor’s handlers said Friday.

The eagle named Pag-asa, or Hope, succumbed to fatal infections caused by parasites that caused its reproductive and respiratory systems to fail on Wednesday, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) said.

“The Philippine Eagle Foundation is sad to announce the passing of beloved Philippine Eagle, Pag-asa,” PEF said.

“Pag-asa would have been 29 on January 15. His hatchday is a monumental event as it spurred the conservation breeding efforts for his species.”

Pag-asa’s birth, which culminated 14 years of research, heralded hope for the critically endangered species, the foundation said.

Phil Eagle 2.jpg

In this file photo, a Philippine eagle named Scout Binay displays its feathers at the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City, Philippines, April 2011. [Mark Navales/BenarNews]

'His legacy lives on'

Pithecophaga the scientific name of the Philippine eagle species. They are found in just four of the country’s more than 7,100 islands – Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.

Only an estimated 400 breeding pairs currently exist in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The raptors generally have a 7-foot wingspan, one of the broadest among forest raptors in the world. They can grow up to 3 feet in height – from the tip of the crown feathers to the tail.

And their blue-grey eyes can see eight times clearer than human beings, according to the foundation.

The fight to save the Philippine eagle has been arduous.

In 2012, the foundation protested a court ruling that fined a farmer only a little over U.S. $2,000 for hunting and eating one.

Six years before that, the government saved an eagle it confiscated from a man who had wounded and caged it as a pet. This eagle was rehabilitated and released back into the wild, only to be shot and eaten months later.

Meanwhile, Pag-asa’s offspring – named Mabuhay – is in the care of the foundation.

“Pag-asa was gone too soon indeed, but his legacy lives on,” the foundation said.

This story has been updated to correct the caption of the main photograph.


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