BURAUEN, Leyte – The upland village of Kagbana here is being eyed as the future release site for the rare Philippine eagle through a project supported by the Australian government.
During her visit on Thursday, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Hae Kyong Yu said her government has been supporting activities of the Philippine Eagle Foundation to prepare the community for the national bird’s re-introduction.
“The Australian government has been providing funds for research and work in the community. This is a multi-year program in partnership with the Philippine Eagle Foundation. This place has been carefully selected as the town is surrounded by mountains and the community is welcoming,” Yu told reporters after a meet and greet with officials at the Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) Burauen campus.
Kagbana has been identified as a priority area for Philippine Eagle conservation since 2018 through community awareness and livelihood support, said Jayson Ibanez, Philippine Eagle Foundation director for research and conservation.
“In the past five years, the Australian embassy has supported preparatory activities for the future release of eagles in Leyte. They have assisted us in our community forest guard program and livelihood activities,” Ibanez said.
The project, funded under the Australian Program, has USD90 million budget this year.
Priority activities nationwide are aligned with the objectives to promote prosperity, stability, and resilience.
“For the eagle conservation initiative, our partners want to see an impact by June next year by introducing the eagle to the environment and monitoring its movement in the wild,” Yu added.
The foundation said the EVSU Burauen campus was instrumental in initiating communications with the Kagbana community.
The school helped in the capacity-building for livelihood activities, a stepping stone for other conservation projects such as reforestation, forest guarding, propagation of culture, and many more.
The Philippine eagle is one of the rarest eagles in the world and one of the largest and most powerful among forest raptors.
They are also listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature with an estimated number of only 400 pairs left in the wild. (PNA)