An interpretive news story on the environmental situation about the Philippine Eagle as an endangered species.
(first of three parts)
The recent reports of the rescue of the Philippine Eagle in Isabela and Bicol proved that more townsfolk are aware of the state of the endemic raptor. The eagle is listed as one of the 24 critically-endangered species in the country.
In the last three years to date, according to Althea Lota, project manager, Wildlife Division of the Philippine Animal Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) there are a total of 100 eagle sightings. Confirmed sightings of the raptor were in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Arakan Valley in North Cotabato and Mt Busa in the boundaries of Saranggani, Maitum and Lake Sebu.
However, there were confirmed reports that a number of eagles are being hunted for game and are being given for free as pets to some residents of San Isidro in Abra. Apparently, the townsfolk in the province are not aware of the laws protecting the bird. Further, there were attempts to interview Congressman Rodolfo Albano of Isabela, who earlier assited in the rescue of an injured raptor, but was unavailable for comment.
The Philippine Eagle or Kidagaw, a native term to the Talaandig Tribe in Bukidnon, is a legendary giant bird feared by the tribal people of Mt Kitanglad Range. This belief had been carried down from generation to generation. With its popular account, it has become a myth. The Talaandig Tribe believed that this giant raptor does not prey only on monkeys but on humans as well. The late Datu Kinulintang, the tribal chieftain of the Talaandig in Lantapan, had often told tales of this ferocious bird to his subordinates. It was retold to this writer.
There was once a tribal Datu who used to go boar-hunting in the forest of Mt Kitanglad. The forest was their main source of meat, food, medicine and other household necessities. One day when he was on his way home slinging the carcass of a wild pig on his broad shoulders, a shadow fell under him. It was the shadow of the Kidagaw.
It swooped down upon him and lifted the boar and the hunter to heights. With its claws embedded in the boar, the Datu let go of it and rolled to safety.
So as not to become its victim, Datu Maginkol of Malaybalay, retold to us the social pact or “Pamuhat” or sacrosanct ritual established between the Kidagaw and the tribal people. To avoid its wrath, they must not destroy its habitat.