A young male rehabilitated Philippine eagle was released to its natural habitat in Barangay Lupiagan, Sumilao in Bukidnon last March 6, according to Dennis Salvador, Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) Executive Director.Salvador said the Philippine eagle named “Kagsabua” (Higaonon word for unity) rescued from Mount Kitanglad Natural Park, Bukidnon by the Kitanglad Guard Volunteers (KGVs) from a hunter last September 2006 while doing rounds of the park.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and local officials brought the bird to the Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) for treatment and rehabilitation for almost one-and-a-half years.

Hundreds of well-wishers witnessed the released of Kagsabua led by PEF President and retired Air force commanding General William Hotchkiss.

Two event hosts, Mayor Marie Ann Baula of Sumilao and DENR Region X Director Maximo Dichoso were also present as community leaders, residents and kids mingled with government, NGO, and media personnel witnessed the glorious event.

“The occasion was definitely festive as the eagle release was the first in this part of Mindanao,” Salvador said.

Meanwhile, Salvador said a total of 59 Philippine Eagles were already admitted at the center from 1970 to 2006, and 36 of these died because they are either too sick to be cured or too injured to be saved.

“Not only are eagles being shot, their forest homes are also cut down and destroyed out there as we speak,” he said.

The beleaguered state of the Philippine Eagle, the country’s biological emblem and one of the world’s most endangered animal, is a reminder not only of the gloomy state of our natural environment, but also of the lack of environmental care and concern among some of our fellow men.

”By releasing Kagsabua and all other rehabilitated Philippine Eagles back to the forests and making the public know about these releases, DENR and PEF hope to make more Filipinos become aware of how precious our national bird is,” Salvador added.

For Gen. Hotchkiss, he believed the greatest threat to the country’s national security is environmental degradation.

“The story of Kagsabua and how various sectors of the government and civil society worked together to bring him home inspired me. I hope our fellowmen get equally inspired and cooperatively end the environmental meltdown we now face,” Hotchkiss added.

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