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Meet The National Animal of The Philippines, The Philippine Eagle

Ever found yourself swaying to the rhythmic tales of the vibrant, multicultural culture that is the Philippines? If not, let me bring you a piece of its essence.

The Philippines, with its archipelagic charm, is not just about shimmering seas and resplendent festivities; it also cradles wonders of the avian world, the most majestic being the Philippine Eagle. Forget the misconceptions about the carabao being the national animal; it’s this magnificent bird that holds the title!

Did you know this eagle is considered one of the largest and rarest in the world, known to many as the “monkey-eating eagle”? Stick around, there’s so much more to unveil about this feathered wonder!

Quick Info About The Philippine Eagle

Scientific Name:Pithecophaga jefferyi
Average Size:86 to 102 cm (2.82 to 3.35 ft)
Average Weight:4.04 to 8.0 kg (8.9 to 17.6 lb)
Average Lifespan:Up to 30 years in the wild, up to 40 years in captivity
Geographical Range:Endemic to the Philippines
Habitat:Dipterocarp and mid montane forests
Conservation Status:Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List)

Meet The Philippine Eagle, National Animal of The Philippines

When you first glance at the Philippine Eagle, you’ll be drawn to its graceful brown and white-colored plumage. Its sharp, pointed beak and strong talons speak volumes about its predatory nature. Nestling a shaggy crest above its eyes, this eagle wears a crown that symbolizes its royal status amongst its avian cousins.

So, where does this magnificent creature fit into the wild, intricate web of nature? Well, the Philippine Eagle is a top-tier predator, sitting at the apex of its food chain. Its favorite snack? Monkeys!

Yup, you heard it right! This eagle has an appetite for monkeys, hence its nickname, the “monkey-eating eagle”. But its menu doesn’t end there; it dines on a variety of animals, from bats to small mammals, birds, and reptiles, truly making it a master hunter of its realm.

Ever wondered who dares to mess with this regal eagle? Luckily for the Philippine Eagle, it doesn’t spend its days looking over its shoulder, for it has no natural predators. Its reign in the skies remains unchallenged, allowing it to soar freely.

Philippine Eagle

Where Does The Philippine Eagle Live?

To witness the majesty of the Philippine Eagle, head to the lush, steep terrains of dipterocarp and mid-montane forests in the Philippines. It is in these soaring landscapes, ranging from lowlands to towering mountains, reaching over 1,800 m (5,900 ft), where the eagle calls home.

Primarily, you will find the most extensive population of these eagles on the island of Mindanao, with Samar, Leyte, and Luzon housing a few of these splendid creatures. Each of these locations, such as the Northern Sierra Madre National Park on Luzon and Mount Apo on Mindanao, offers a unique backdrop, painting the perfect portrait of the eagle’s majestic existence.

However, the shrinking old-growth forest, a result of extensive deforestation, is rendering the Philippine Eagle a wanderer in its own homeland, struggling to find its footing in the diminishing stretches of suitable habitats. This leads us to ponder, how long before these breathtaking terrains lose the shadow of the soaring Philippine Eagle?

Why and When Did The Philippine Eagle Become The National Animal of The Philippines?

Declared the national bird of the Philippines in 1995, the Philippine Eagle holds a profound significance for the country and its people. But why the eagle, you might wonder? The Philippine Eagle is not only one of the world’s largest and most powerful eagles but also a symbol of pride and strength for the Philippines. It represents the resilience and freedom of the nation, soaring high above the islands, untamed and majestic.

The Philippine Eagle’s designation as the national animal wasn’t without controversy. There has long been a popular notion that the carabao holds this title. While the carabao is indeed a symbol of labor and patience to the Filipinos, and is revered, it hasn’t been legally recognized as the national animal.

The selection of the Philippine Eagle reflects a desire to bring attention to its precarious situation and to foster national unity in conserving this unique species. Sadly, its powerful wings are being clipped by habitat destruction and human activities, pushing it to the brink of extinction. The designation seeks to inspire a collective responsibility among Filipinos to protect and preserve their natural heritage, encapsulated in the regal flight of the Philippine Eagle.

Philippine Eagle

Where is The Philippine Eagle Featured in The Philippines?

The Philippine Eagle, being a symbol of national pride, has been prominently featured as the official mascot for the Southeast Asian Games in 2005. Its regal image was showcased to represent the strength, unity, and competitive spirit of the nation. While it may not adorn the national flag or currency, its presence in such international events underscores its importance to Filipino identity and heritage.

The selection of the eagle as a mascot is more than just a nod to its symbolic stature; it’s a reminder of the continuous struggle of this magnificent bird against the odds, echoing the resilience and fighting spirit of the Filipino people. Whether it is in sports or in life, the Philippine Eagle remains a powerful symbol of hope and endurance for the nation.

Names of The Philippine Eagle

The Philippine Eagle goes by several names, reflecting the cultural richness and diversity of the archipelago it calls home. Most commonly, it is known as the Monkey-Eating Eagle due to its preference for hunting monkeys.

Locally, it’s called “Haribon” or “Haring Ibon,” translating to “King Bird” in Filipino, a testament to its regal presence in the skies above the islands. The name Haribon symbolizes its supreme status in the avian world of the Philippines, and indeed, when you see one, you know you are in the presence of avian royalty.

Is The Philippine Eagle Endangered?

Yes, the future of the Philippine Eagle is in peril, classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The primary threat to this majestic bird is the loss of its habitat due to extensive deforestation and other human activities. A vast portion of its range has been transformed, leaving only fragmented forests for it to inhabit.

Various conservation initiatives have been deployed to save this magnificent bird from the brink of extinction. Organizations such as the Philippine Eagle Foundation are at the forefront, releasing captive-bred eagles into the remnants of suitable habitats and working tirelessly to rehabilitate injured ones.

Educational programs have been initiated in local communities, cultivating a sense of responsibility and fostering a culture of conservation. These strategies are not only unique but imperative, serving as the last beacon of hope for the survival of the Philippine Eagle.

Philippine Eagle

Interesting Facts About The Philippine Eagle

  1. Majestic Size: It is considered the largest of the extant eagles in terms of length and wing surface, overshining its global peers with its unparalleled wingspan and imposing stature.
  2. Unique Diet: It is also known as the Monkey-Eating Eagle due to its predilection for hunting monkeys, showcasing its prowess in the air and its critical role in controlling populations in its ecosystem.
  3. Rare Beauty: The Philippine Eagle is one of the rarest birds globally, with an estimated population of fewer than 500 individuals, making every sighting a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  4. Symbol of Hope: It was the official mascot for the Southeast Asian Games in 2005, embodying the strength, hope, and resilience of the Filipino people on an international stage.
  5. Captive Breeding Success: The first captive-bred eagle was released into the wild in 2004 by the Philippine Eagle Foundation, marking a significant milestone in conservation efforts for this species.

Other Beautiful Animals Native To The Philippines

  • Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis): A small, critically endangered buffalo found only on the island of Mindoro.
  • Philippine Tarsier (Carlito syrichta): One of the world’s smallest primates, with big eyes and a long tail, it’s a sight to behold!
  • Mouse Deer (Tragulus nigricans): Also known as Pilandok, this small, shy, and rare hoofed mammal is found in the Balabac islands.
  • Visayan Spotted Deer (Rusa alfredi): Known as the “prince of the forest,” it is one of the three endemic deer species of the Philippines.
  • Philippine Crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis): A critically endangered species, efforts are ongoing to conserve this unique crocodile species in its native habitat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Philippine Eagle the largest eagle in the world?

Yes, the Philippine Eagle is considered the largest eagle in the world in terms of length and wing surface area.

Why is the Philippine Eagle called the Monkey-Eating Eagle?

The Philippine Eagle is called the Monkey-Eating Eagle due to its unique diet preference, primarily hunting monkeys in the wild.

Is it legal to hunt the Philippine Eagle?

Absolutely not! Hunting the Philippine Eagle is strictly prohibited by law, and violators face severe penalties, including imprisonment and hefty fines.

Is the Carabao the national animal of the Philippines?

No, while the Carabao is indeed a symbolic animal in the Philippines, the official national animal is the Philippine Eagle.

How can one contribute to the conservation of the Philippine Eagle?

Individuals can contribute by supporting organizations like the Philippine Eagle Foundation, spreading awareness, and participating in local conservation initiatives.

Other National Symbols of The Philippines

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