EAGLE FLIES FREE. The Philippine Eagle “Sarangani” is finally back home at Mt. Busa, a local conservation area in Barangay Upo, Maitum, Sarangani, Monday (June 13, 2022). The bird was freed after 18 months of recuperating at the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City. (Photo courtesy Maitum LGU)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Philippine eagle named “Sarangani” was returned to the wild after its release in the hinterlands of Maitum, Sarangani province, Monday.

“Sarangani survived an injury inflicted on its wing by illegal hunters for more than a year in the forests of the province,” Abdul Cariga, head of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Kiamba town, said in an interview.

Cariga witnessed the release of Sarangani to its natural habitat in the mountain after 18 months of recovery at the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City.

Sarangani, a male Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), was turned over to the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) for rehabilitation after a farmer found it trapped in the wild.

PEF has partnered with Alsons Power Group’s Sarangani Energy Corporation and Siguil Hydro Power Corporation to ensure the protection of the Mt. Busa key biodiversity area where a subpopulation of Philippine Eagles dwell.

The release of “Sarangani” (previously named “Salagbanog”) highlighted the culmination of the Philippine Eagle Week 2022 celebration from June 6 until 13.

According to PEF, they have already rescued 12 eagles since the start of the pandemic, many of which were either shot or trapped by hunters in the uplands.

On January 8 last year, a T’boli farmer found the raptor trapped in thorny rattan vines after hunting a monkey near Salagbanog Falls located in Barangay Ticulab of Maitum municipality. (PNA)