The ecologically important bird species, the Philippine Eagle with the scientific name of Pithecophaga Jefferyi naturally inhabits the rich forests of Samar.
The recent citing of the Philippine Eagle at the Taft Forest Wildlife (Philippine Eagle) Sanctuary confirmed this, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Executive Director Manolito Ragub said.
The sighting of the Philippine Eagle is something which the people of Eastern Visayas must be proud of, Ragub said. "It is in this part of the country where this important bird species naturally abound," he added.
He said that the presence of the Philippine Eagle is an indicator that there is still an ecologically-balanced forest in Samar.
He added that while the government is spending so much money just to propagate this species in captive breeding like what is being done by the Philippine Eagle Foundation Center in Davao, Eastern Visayas has its own naturally breeding Eagles in the forests of Samar.
The Taft Forest Wildlife¸ the Philippine Eagle¸ was sighted on March 10, in the forests of San Rafael, Taft, Eastern Samar which is part of the Philippine Eagle Sanctuary, Samar Island Natural Park Protected Area Superintendent Angelito Villanueva informed RED Ragub in a report.
The Philippine Eagle was sighted by Ms. Ruth Francisco, a member of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines in the course of her bird watching activity. Together with Ms. Francisco was Mr. Joselito Sierra, a local tour guide of the SINP.
Ms. Francisco who has been conducting birding activities for two years already, has been to different forested areas in the country like the Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon.
Philippine Eagle via en.wikipedia.org/wiki
Francisco said that she usually sees wild birds in flight and the Philippine Eagle in captivity.
At the Taft Philippine Eagle Sanctuary, however, she actually sighted a Philippine Eagle in the wild just about 100 meters away from her standpoint.
Ms. Francisco was on her second visit to the SINP to look for the Mindanao Bleeding Heart, a species of bird in the pigeon and dove family (Columbidae) so named because of a red blotch on its breast, which is endemic to the Philippines.
At 7:55 a.m. of March 10, while hiking amidst the forest on a cloudy with occasional rains morning, we heard the call of a Rufus Hornbill, Ms. Francisco excitedly shared to DENR Region 8 Regional Public Affairs Officer Purificacion Daloos.
Expecting that the Mindanao Bleeding Heart will follow, I positioned my camera and was excited to see a raptor¦ the Philippine Eagle, Ms. Francisco narrated.
The Philippine Eagle was preening while perching for about five minutes, on a leafless tree on top of a cliff. It stayed there until three Rufus Hornbills flew in and perched on a nearby tree. Disturbed by the noise of the Hornbills, the Philippine Eagle flew away, Ms. Francisco recounted.
She added that other birds seen in the thickly forested area with surrounding perching trees were two Samar Hornbill, two Yellowish Bulbul, one Amethyst Brown Dove, four Red-keeled Flowerpecker, four Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, two Philippine Bulbul, and one Sunpride Species.
RED Ragub said the sighting of the Philippine Eagle is not only a moment of pride and rejoicing, but more so, a challenge and reminder to every Filipino especially the people of Samar to help protect the remaining forest of Samar.
The continued existence of the Philippine Eagle and other wildlife species depends on the condition of the forest, their habitat, RED Ragub said.
The Philippine Eagle was first sighted in Paranas, Samar on June 15, 1896 by a British collector John Whitehead. The various sightings of the Philippine Eagle in the forests of Samar prompted then President Joseph Estrada to declare on July 31, 1999, the 3,720 hectares of the said forests as Taft Forest Wildlife (Philippine Eagle) Sanctuary through Presidential Proclamation No. 155. (Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu/PIA 8)