Wounded endangered eagle dies
First Posted 21:47:00 08/13/2008
MANILA, Philippines—An endangered white-bellied sea eagle found bleeding from a gunshot wound in its wing has died despite attempts to save it, the second rare bird to be shot by hunters in the Philippines in a month, officials said Wednesday.
Environment Secretary Lito Atienza said the wounded eagle was found Friday in a field beside the mountain village of Duale in western Bataan province, and village officials gave it first aid.
Wildlife officer Mila Ramirez said the eagle died late Monday despite attempts by a veterinarian to save it.
Atienza said he has ordered environment officials in the region to track down the killer and file charges.
"The injured bird uttered a loud cry as its body and wings were touched by rescuers," Atienza said in a statement Tuesday. "You can imagine how much cruelty this bird had to endure just so some irresponsible people could have their day."
Last month, a rare Philippine eagle was shot dead in a national park in southern Bukidnon province four months after it was released back into the wild following treatment for a gunshot wound.
A 22-year old tribal farmer confessed to killing the bird and making soup from the two-kilogram eagle, saying he thought it was a hawk.
Ramirez said the bird that died Monday fits the description of a juvenile white-bellied sea eagle. It had brown feathers, chalky white legs, a bluish-gray bill, and gray-feathered breast.
One of the bird's wings measured two feet (0.6 meters), and it appeared to have lost much weight, she added in a telephone interview.
Environment officer Pacoy Que said the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, lists the white-bellied sea eagle as an endangered species not necessarily threatened with immediate extinction but which could become so unless trade is closely controlled.
There is no data on the white-bellied sea eagle's population in the Philippines, Que and Ramirez said.
The bird is indigenous to Southeast Asia.
Under Philippine law, killing or inflicting injury on an endangered species is punishable by up to 6 years jail term and fines of up to P500,000 (US$11,300). If the species is "critically endangered" or at high risk of extinction, the jail term is up to 12 years and fines are up to P1 million (US$22,600).