By Alexander Villafania
DAVAO CITY, DAVAO DEL SUR – For 25 years, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) has been at the forefront of protecting the country’s avian symbol.
The PEF, which is depends largely on donations from both local and foreign individuals and institutions, is in the brink of scaling down its operations unless more resource is found.
In a statement, Rolando Pinsoy, media officer for PEF, said the foundation, which is housed at the eight-hectare Philippine Eagle Center in Malagos, Davao City, has already collected P10 million from grants and donations but would require an additional P20 million for its continued operations.
The amount would be used to continue some of its livelihood assistance programs for communities in areas inhabited by wild Philippine eagles (Pithecophaga jefferyi).
These livelihood projects allow residents to find other means of financial resource and avoid having to hunt for local creatures, particularly the critically endangered Philippine eagle.
Donations are mostly promoted as an adoption program wherein individuals or entities must give P150,000 a year for the upkeep of one bird, which would include its food, veterinary costs, and payment for caretakers.
The Philippine Eagle Center currently has 36 eagles, 25 of which have been part of the adoption program.
Apart from the adoption program, Pinsoy stressed that it also needs funding from the government. This year, the PEF requested for a P2 million financial fund for its conservation efforts.
Incidentally, the government under the Marcos era was tasked to conserve the Philippine eagle whose number was already dwindling since. But in 1987, conservation efforts were turned to private entities that established the PEF.
The Philippine eagle, endemic only to the Philippines, was once abundant across the mountain regions of the whole country, from the Cordilleras in Luzon to the entire island of Mindanao. However, due to habitat destruction and hunting, Philippine eagle numbers have gone down to an estimated 300 mating pairs.
This puts the species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) critically endangered list.
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