MANOLO FORTICH, BUKIDNON—On the cold morning of April 26, a Wednesday, a team of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) from Davao City arrived at the small hilltop tribal hall of Barangay Guilang-guilang for a regular visit to check on the reforestation and agroforestry initiatives in the community that they supported. But even before they could warm their seats, they were greeted with an interesting development. “I have big news, it’s a surprise I have been waiting to tell you for weeks. We saw a smaller Philippine eagle together with its parents,” Datu Honorio Sumohoy, local tribal chief and head of the Guilang-guilang Apo Datu Nanikunan Association Inc. (Gadnai), said. An enthusiastic Sumohoy then asked the PEF team to immediately visit the area where he had been observing the eagles several times over the past few weeks. “Back in December [2022], I already had an inkling of this after we had several reports of chicken, piglet and even a dog that had been snatched. For me, it was a sign that it was not their (eagle pair) usual diet and that something was off, so we went searching for the nest because deep inside I can feel that the eagles needed extra [food] to feed a new chick,” Sumohoy explained. For the community, the new eaglet is a sign of a blessing especially after the tribe’s annual ritual of thanksgiving in March as their tradition and customary beliefs point to the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) as where the spirit of their great tribal chieftain Apo Nanikunan resides. Since the first discovery of a Philippine eagle pair in Manolo Fortich in 1995 by a team from the PEF, the town and its nearby mountain communities have been a prime interest for forest conservation. Some 28 years later, the conservation program has borne fruit as a year-old eaglet opened its wings and slowly followed its parent who was teaching it to soar above the forest. Milestone “This is a milestone for the wildlife conservation program because this is the second validated and alive young Philippine eagle produced by Philippine eagle ‘Kalabugao,’” said Jayson Ibañez, the PEF director for research and conservation, in a recent interview. In 2008, the PEF team rescued a sick Kalabugao from its captor in Bukidnon when it was just a year old. A year later in 2009, after the bird was rehabilitated, it was fitted with a GPS (global

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