The Philippine Eagle is a majestic creature. Known as the Pearl of the Orient Seas’ national bird, the Philippine Eagle has long been a symbol for strength and freedom. At the moment, it is listed as critically endangered by the ICUN Red List. Also known by its ominous name “monkey-eating eagle”, this bird is truly unique in both its natural tendencies as well as its story. Let’s go down the species’ history so we can better understand the circumstances that follow this powerful-feathered creature.

Conservation and Restoration

Image: NUS Blog

The main culprit behind the decline of the eagle is deforestation and habitat loss. There’s also the poaching problem that continues to threaten the birds even today. The Philippine Eagle is a treasure of the Philippines. Its popularity and use in many different media might just be the factors that end up saving it. Because of the bird’s symbolism and sheer popularity, many foundations and conservation establishments dedicate their efforts in restoring the species. Unlike other critically endangered animals in the Philippines, a lot of study has gone into trying to repopulate the eagle. The law also protects the species; killing one can send the offender to 12 years in prison.

Lots of hard work and money has gone in hopes of being able to breed the bird in captivity. Artificial insemination and natural reproduction have both been tried to decent success. Unfortunately, the survival rate of released captive-bred eagles isn’t pretty. A lot of them die by the hands of ruthless cowards who shoot them for sport despite going against the legislation.

A standout case was when a captive-bred eagle was released into the wild in 2008. The bird was then shot and eaten shortly thereafter.

The Future

Image: BirdLife International

The future seems bleak for the Philippine Eagle. The apathy amongst many locals is mind-boggling. It’s hard to understand how many people can be so nonchalant about the probable death of an animal that has long symbolized their country.

Realistically speaking, the eagle will go extinct in the wild and its species will have to live in captivity. It’s not yet over for the eagle however. We can still save them with the many groups and foundations trying to hold onto the falling species. Educating people about their circumstances and punishing law-breakers more diligently will definitely help. There’s still a chance for the majestic bird to evolve from a symbol of power and freedom to a beacon of resilience, hope, and survival.