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Philippine Eagle finds a home in E. Visayas

Tacloban City – Eastern Visayas can be considered as Philippine Eagle territory after confirmation that the national bird has made a home in the islands of Leyte and Samar.

Leonardo Sibbaluca, regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 8 office (DENR-8), based here, said a Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) was first spotted in Paranas, Samar, on June 15, 1896 by British naturalist John Whitehead.

Philippine eagle / MB file photo

Philippine Eagle (MB file/ Manila Bulletin)

Sibbaluca said the presence of the eagle in the forests of Samar was also reported  in the early 1980s. Sightings of the bird in 1997 prompted President Joseph Estrada to declare 3,720 hectares of Samar forest as “Taft Forest Wildlife (Philippine Eagle) Sanctuary” on July 31, 1999.

The latest sighting was in 2014. A team from the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) and the Institute of Biology of the University of the Philippines – Diliman spotted the eagle in the thickly forested Barangay Buluan in Calbiga, Western Samar, and the Taft Forest of Eastern Samar. Both areas are within the Samar Island Natural Park.

Confirmed sightings of the Philippine Eagle in the island of Leyte were reported in December 2012  by a team from UP-Diliman that was conducting research in the forests of   Barangay Kagbana, Burauen Leyte, Sibbaluca said.

The bird was also spotted by DENR field men in the forests in the Anonang-Lobi mountain range at the boundaries of the towns of  Burauen-Jaro-Albuera and Ormoc City inside the 107,625 hectares Leyte geothermal field reservation (LGFR) area covering two cities and several towns.