Endangered eagle shot dead two months after release

  A Philippine eagle was found dead two months after its release into the wild, the Philippine Eagle Foundation said on August 19.

A bullet pierced through the right chest of Pamana, killing the three-year-old rehabilitated eagle, a necropsy at the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City showed.

“A tiny metal fragment believed to be from a shattered gun pellet was also isolated from the carcass,” the foundation said in a statement.

Dr. Ana Lascano, PEF veterinarian, said in her necropsy report that the bird could have suffered from “gun shot wound leading to possible trauma.”

PEF biologists and local forest guards found Pamana found the eagle’s carcass on August 16 on Mt Hamiguitan Range in Davao Oriental, where it was released on Independence Day, June 12 to allow it to mature, breed and contribute young to the dwindling wild population of Philippine eagles.

Pamana was being closely monitored since its release. Fieldworkers tracked radio signals from a miniature transmitter harnessed on its back. Remotely, the bird was being tracked through an additional miniature GPS satellite transmitter.

Around lunch time on August 10, the team noted that the radio signals were in “mortality” mode, indicating that the unit had not moved for the last six hours.

“One of two things might have happened — either the radio unit came off or the bird has died,” the foundation said.

After a few days tracing the location of the radio transmitter, the team found the decomposed carcass of Pamana near a creek below the thick forest where she was released.

Pamana was rehabilitated by the PEF after it was rescued from the forests of Iligan City by environment officials three years ago. The young eagle sustained minor bruises, trauma and superficial gunshot wounds.

With only 400 adult pairs left of the species, the Philippine eagle is close to extinction. At present, the species is classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

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