Persevering to preserve the surviving population of the country’s national bird, the Philippine Eagle Foundation urged President Benigno Aquino III to express in his commitment in saving the eagles by regulating large-scale mining.
“Mining is always a threat to the Philippine Eagles most especially open-pit mining,” PEF Executive Director Dennis Salvador remarked.
Salvador said that he is not against the development goals of mining but he is against the destruction brought by unregulated mining practices.
“Usually, what’s left of us are barren lands,” Salvador described the current mining practice in the country, which he said is also an attack on the habitats of the Philippine Eagle.
The population of Philippine Eagle, which is also known as the “haring ibon”, is already dwindling because of the widespread destruction of the forests and hunting.
Salvador said that there are only about 400 pairs of Philippine Eagles left in the wild. With 200 pairs documented in Mindanao, the remaining pairs are in Samar and some parts of Luzon.
Once roaming the forests and the skies like kings and queens, the country’s national bird is now in a critically endangered status.
A veteran in eagle conservation, Salvador said that Aquino must give a clarification on his new mining policy in his State of the Nation Address on Monday considering that this is one of the major threats to the eagles.
“We must not look at this industry in a purely extractive point of view,” Salvador said.
With the current state of the Philippine Eagles, Salvador said that he is hopeful that mining operations would no more threaten the forests and habitats of the raptors.