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Philippine Raptors Conservation Project PDF Print E-mail


Project Name: Philippine Raptors Conservation Project
Area Coverage:


Implementing Agency/ies: DENR-Protected Area Areas and Wildlife Bureau and DENR Regions 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, CARAGA and CAR

Short Description
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Objectives :

The Program aims to conserve the country’s birds of prey using the Philippine Eagle as the flagship species. Specifically, the Program has the following objectives:

a) To conserve the Philippine Eagle and other endangered Philippine avifaunal species in the wild and in captivity;
b) To develop the Center for Philippine Raptors at Los Baños initially, as venue for education and research, and ultimately, as breeding center for Philippine birds of prey; and,
c) To provide an extensive public education on Philippine Eagle an


Expected Output
1. Population Distribution of the Philippine Eagle established in database;
2. Philippine Eagle habitats proclaimed as protected area;
3. Captive-bred raptors released in the wild;
4. Community people participating to wildlife conservation activities in their respective areas.

Status of Implementation

A. Major Activities

1. Wild Population Management – this focuses on the protection and identification of the population distribution and number of Philippine Eagles throughout their range.

2. Captive Population Management – this component involves the rescue and rehabilitation of confiscated and donated raptors and their release in the wild. Raptors which are not fit for release are maintained for research, captive breeding and public education purposes.

3. Information, Education and Communication Campaign – a measure to promote a nationwide public awareness, and to provide opportunity for establishing community partnerships for the conservation of the Philippine Eagle, other raptors and their habitats.

B. Major Accomplishments

Wild Population Management

1. Created and mobilized the Regional Eagle Watch Teams (REWT) in ten (10) DENR- Regional Offices, such as 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, CARAGA, and CAR. The Team’s functions include, among others, i.e., protection/law enforcement and monitoring of the wild population of the Philippine Eagle throughout its known range; and, ii) location of other Philippine Eagle habitats and nesting sites.

2. Part of the protection/law enforcement activities of the PRCP-REWTs is the retrieval/confiscation of Philippine Eagle and other raptorial birds which are illegally possessed by private individuals. A total of twenty-two (22) Philippine Eagles were retrieved by the REWTs with assistance of concerned NGOs i.e., PEF and CI Philippines and concerned LGUs from 1997-2008, of which, 5 were released back in the wild while some are being maintained at the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao as breeding stocks. Two cases were also filed against illegal possessors/killers of Philippine Eagle. Based on REWTs’ monitoring activities, an average of 40 individuals of Philippine Eagle in the wild was recorded per year. From the period 1993 to December 31, 2008, 194 individuals of Philippine Eagle in 96 areas in Luzon (Cordillera and Sierra Madre Mountain ranges), Visayas (Samar and Leyte) and Mindanao have been recorded by the REWTs.

3. In collaboration with Haribon Foundation, implemented the project entitled “Biodiversity and Resource Assessment with Focus on the Philippine Eagle and other raptors”. This project resulted to a Philippine Eagle population estimate between 202 and 1,616 pairs in 1998 base on the estimated lowland forest cover of 20,201.63 km2. This estimate has the assumption that a pair has a minimum territory of 12.5 km2 and a maximum range of 100 km2 and that a pair uses 100% of the habitat. If only 40% of the available habitat is used, the Philippine population estimate nationwide would only range between 80 and 646 pairs (unpublished report).
Recent studies estimated that there could be a total of 300 pairs of Philippine eagle in Mindanao, Sierra Madre Mountains, Samar and Leyte base on extrapolations from nesting and breeding pair densities and available forest area suitable for Philippine eagle (Miranda et. al, unpublished report).

The most recent distribution record of Philippine eagle was reported by the REWT in the Cordillera mountains. A feather and bone specimens of Philippine eagle was retrieved by the REWT in Barlig, Mt. Province in 1999. The specimens was confirmed to be that of the Philippine eagle by the UPLB-Natural History Museum and is considered to be the first factual evidence of the existence of the species in the Cordilleras (Prof. Pedro Alviola, communication 1999) . Following this, a Philippine eagle was captured each from Apayao and Abra which was turned-over to DENR in 2001 and 2005 respectively. Field verification is now being undertaken by the PRCP-REWT to fully document the existence of wild population of Philippine eagle in these areas.

4. Assisted in the declaration of Taft Forest Wildlife Philippine Eagle Wildlife Sanctuary as protected area (Presidential Proclamation No. 155 on July 31, 1999) pursuant to Republic Act 7586.

5. The process of designating Philippine eagle habitats outside protected areas as ‘Critical Habitat’ under the Wildlife Act is ongoing. This would provide opportunity for collaborative management of such areas by local stakeholders.

Captive Population Management
1. Established the Center for Philippine Raptors (CPR) at the Makiling Botanical Garden, College, Laguna. The Center serves as a rescue and rehabilitation facility for donated, abandoned and confiscated raptors. It is also a venue for research of students and researchers studying Philippine raptors.
*For operational cost efficiency, the CPR was transferred on July 2009 as an integral component of the Wildlife Rescue Center of PAWB;
2. Developed 5 natural breeding pairs of Philippine Scops Owl (with thirty-four captive-bred owlets; and, 1 pair each of Brahminy Kite and White Breasted Sea-Eagle at the CPR;

3. In collaboration with the academe e.g., University of the Philippines Los Baños, conducted basic researches on Philippine Eagle and other raptors at the CPR;

4. Pursuant to the Wildlife Release Program of PAWB, released in the wild the following rehabilitated birds:

 19 heads of Brahminy Kite in Corregidor Island, Bataan
 6 heads of Brahminy Kite in Mts. Palay-Palay/Mataas na Gulod National Park, Ternate, Cavite
 16 heads of Serpent Eagle in Mt. Makiling, Laguna
 6 heads of White-Breasted Sea-Eagles in Corregidor Island, Bataan
 7 heads of Common Grass Owls in Mt. Makiling, Laguna
 8 heads of Philippine Scops Owl (two of which are captive-bred) in Mt. Banahaw, Quezon.

IEC, Capacity Building and Collaborative Activities

1. Created the Philippine Eagle Working Group (PEWG) composed of PAWB as Chair and representatives from the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), UPLB-College of Forestry and Natural Resources (UPLB-CFNR), UPLB-Institute of Forest Conservation (UPLB-IFC), UPLB-Institute of Biological Sciences (UPLB-IBS), Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystem (MCME), UPLB-College of Veterinary Medicine (UPLB-CVM), Makiling Botanic Gardens Superintendent (MBG), UP Diliman, Philippine National Museum (PNM), Birds International Incorporated (BII), DENR-Forest Management Bureau (DENR-FMB), DENR-Ecosystems Research Development Bureau DENR-ERDB), Haribon Foundation, Conservation International Philippines (CIP), World Wildlife Fund-Philippines (WWF), as members. The tasks of the PEWG are to provide technical assistance and sustain impetus in the implementation of the PRCP and PECP, and to formulate an Integrated Plan (IP) for the Conservation of the Philippine Eagle. The PEWG had developed the IP which was published in 1996. This Integrated Plan was revisited and revised/updated in 2008 for publication this CY 2009.

2. Establishment of partnership with Philippine Eagle Foundation, Conservation International-Philippines, Haribon Foundation, University of the Philippines Los Baños, concerned LGUs, among others in the implementation of various activities towards the conservation of the Philippine Eagle.

3. In collaboration with the Philippine Eagle Foundation, among other partner NGOS, conducted various trainings for the project staff and Regional counterparts to enhance their capabilities in the implementation of the various aspects of the Project. These are, among others, Capability Building on Wildlife Identification; Conservation and Management: A Focus on Philippine Flora and Fauna; Trainings on Taxidermy; Raptor Identification and Raptor Handling; Training on Raptor Medicine; Zookeepers’ Training; Training-workshop on Raptor Research and Management Techniques for Mt. Irid-Angilo Collaborators, and, Training on Captive Breeding of Philippine Eagle.

4. Prepared and distributed more than 70,000 IEC materials (brochures, pamphlets, fans, posters, flash cards, stickers, T-shirts bookmarks, billboards, button pins and caps).

5. Conducted guided tour at the CPR, film showing, photo-exhibits, biodiversity lectures/seminars, biodiversity encampment, eagle site tour, tv/radio plugs, press releases, among other IEC activities.

6. Initiated the development of a policy that will provide emphasis on, and strengthen the conservation of the Philippine Eagle. To this effect, Proclamation No. 79 declaring June 4-10 of every year as “Philippine Eagle Week” was issued by then President Joseph E. Estrada on 24 February 1999. The celebration of Philippine Eagle Week was started in 1999. Among the activities being undertaken during the annual celebration are biodiversity encampment/seminars, exhibit, film showing and various contests.


Lessons Learned

Mortalities of Philippine eagle due to shooting and trapping is still prevalent up to this time in spite the years of information campaigns done by the PRCP-REWT and PEF including the substantial conservation education campaigns by various conservation groups. It appears that education campaigns should be directed at the community level specially those areas near Philippine Eagle habitats. Innovative strategies to stimulate partnership with community residents surrounding Philippine habitat should also be undertaken. Such strategies may include “adopt a Philippine eagle program at the community level’ coupled with community development and support program as a form of reward. On the other hand, wildlife laws should be strictly enforced and violators prosecuted if only to convey that hunting of Philippine eagle and other threatened species is a serious criminal offense.

Studies in Mindanao show that breeding success among Philippine eagles is quiet high and indicate that Philippine eagles at least in Mindanao may not be suffering from reproductive failures as previously thought (Miranda, Rather, the continuous decline of forest habitat threatens the survival and success of dispersal of sub-adults of the species. It is critical therefore to identify and conserve available forest areas suitable for Philippine eagles. This should be one of the emphasis of conservation program for the species.

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