This handsome fellow is Binay. Shown here preening at the Philippine Eagle Center near Davao City, Binay is a captive eagle that is part of their breeding program.
About the Philippine Eagle: The giant forest raptor, endemic to the Philippines, is considered one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world. Unfortunately, it is also one the most critically endangered, as villagers still hunt it for food or sport despite its protected status. According to Birdlife International, recent research estimates 82-233 breeding pairs remain in the wild.
The eagle at right was named Hineleban. It was found dead, apparently killed by drunk villagers because it was eating a dog. Through a tracking device the Philippine Eagle Foundation did not get any response for three weeks and feared the worst. It is illegal to harm the Philippine Eagle and finally a witness stepped forward. Hineleban and other eagles have met with tragic fates as reported here.
The Philippines has been listed as one of the world’s ten most threatened forests hotspots by Conservation International. More than 7,100 islands fall within the borders of the Philippines, identified as one of the most biologically rich countries. Endemic species such as the Philippine Eagle are confined to forest fragments that cover just seven percent of the original natural habitat. Historically logged for timber products, today the remaining forests are also being cleared for farming and to accommodate the needs of the nation’s high population growth rate and severe rural poverty. The livelihoods of around 80 million people are highly dependent on natural resources.