The Philippine eagle is one of the largest and most endangered eagles in the world. The raptor is currently documented on just four Philippine islands—Mindanao, Luzon, Leyte, and Samar. Scientists estimate that perhaps only a few hundred pairs remain in the wild.
With a wingspan of nearly seven feet and a weight of up to 14 pounds, the species,Pithecophaga jefferyi, casts an impressive shadow as it soars through its rain forest home. Its long tail helps it skillfully maneuver while hunting for its elusive prey, like flying lemurs or palm civets.
But securing prey has become increasingly difficult for one of the world’s largest raptors: Continued deforestation due to logging and development in the Philippines has pushed the eagle to the brink of extinction. Today those that remain struggle to find enough food and habitat to survive. Though some of these resourceful birds have adjusted to the reduced surroundings, development continues to threaten their existence.
Conservationists are dedicated to providing the national bird a secure home. The Philippine Eagle Foundation on Mindanao hopes to save the species from extinction through its conservation and education efforts. Officially established in 1987, the center’s captive-breeding program has raised 21 birds over the past two decades.
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