Japanese Premier adopts Philippine Eagle ‘Sakura’

DAVAO CITY-- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday adopted a two-year-old juvenile female Philippine Eagle rescued last December 12 from Pantaron Range in Talaingod town, Compostela Valley Province.

The eagle named Sakura or Cherry Blossoms is in honor of the country of Japan, a long-time partner of the Philippines, especially of Davao. The Japanese government has also been helping the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) and funded the establishment of an education center located in Malagos, Baguio District here.

The naming of the Eagle was held at the garden of the Waterfront Hotel where President Rodrigo Duterte also presented an eagle stuff toy symbolic of the adopted Philippine eagle to Mr. Abe. Part of the backdrop of the naming ceremony was also a stuffed Philippine eagle named "Diola" - mother of Pagasa, which is the first hatched and bred Philippine Eagle.

In an interview on the sidelines of the naming ceremony, PEF Director Dennis Salvador said the ceremonial naming involved goodwill. The Philippine eagle is iconic to the Philippines and a symbol of Filipino resilience.

The adopted eagle was seen by an Ata Manobo (a tribe in Talaingod) standing at a river bank with a wound at the lower left of her abdomen sustained from a gunshot. The eagle could not fly and was limping when turned over to the center. The bullet remains embedded in the eagle's tissue.

"The bullet is still embedded in the tissue, so we're still assessing. Bakadelikado (It might be risky)," he told reporters. According to him, the eagle has already undergone x-rays and other needed medication. Sakura is still undergoing rehabilitation at the PEF center.

Salvador said the adoption and naming of the Philippine Eagle is symbolic of the country's growing partnership with Japan. He is hoping for improved partnership between the Foundation with its Japanese counterparts for further research efforts particularly on endangered raptors.

For over 30 years, Salvador said the Foundation continues to serve its mission in saving and protecting the Philippine eagle from extinction through conservation, breeding, research and conservation initiatives, and conservation education.

At present, the Foundation's conservation efforts are mostly voluntary with the academe and the private sector taking the lead. The Davao City government and President Duterte when he was still mayor have been helping the foundation in terms financial assistance.

Salvador emphasized on the importance of continued partnership particularly where the enforcement of the country's wildlife law is concerned.

The latest eagle adoption is an addition to 36 Philippine eagles at the Malagos center already adopted by their respective benefactors. Each eagle costs a minimum of PHP125,000 or about JP290,000 for five years in maintenance.

The center has also 27 eagles hatched in captivity since the birth of Pagasa in 1992. Salvador said there are only 400 eagle pairs left in the wild and the PEF team continues to rescue and rehabilitate these Philippine eagles. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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