A 24-year-old farmer working in the hills of Baguio District, outside Davao City limits, has shot and wounded Matatag, an adult male eagle which was released into the wild in 2015.
Tiburcio Aparesio told authorities that he ‘accidentally’ shot the Philippine Eagle after bringing it to the Philippine Eagle Centre in Malagos – admitting he shot the bird with his .22 calibre rifle.
Matatag was a rehabilitated Philippines eagle that was released into the wild in Mount Apo just last year. The bird is said to have migrated 13km north of its original destination, making home in the territorial borders of the Obu Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District.
Authorities said the bird appears to have been shot in the right wing. Baguio District Police said the young man quickly informed them that he has accidentally shot the eagle and they in return informed the eagle centre.
Police now say that the farmer’s younger brother may have been involved in shooting and both are now being detained at the Baguio District police station for violation of Republic Act 9147 (the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
Police say a witness to the incident backed up the fact that the young brother shot the bird, not Aparesio.
Workers at the eagle center said ‘Matatag’ was responding well to medication.
Dennis Salvador, Philippines Eagle Foundation executive director said the shooting underscores the problems associated with saving the Philippine Eagle from extinction in an ever declining population throughout the country.