In celebration of the Philippine Eagle Week (PEW), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is organizing an outreach program to raise awareness among children on the importance of the national bird and its habitat.

Children from the Asilo de San Vicente de Paul Orphanage will be treated to a day’s fun and excitement at the Manila Ocean Park (MOP) on June 9, as part of the outreach program. Other activities include painting workshop and storytelling session.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the outreach program is consistent with the agency’s vision of raising environmentally conscious children and preserving the environment for them and for future generations.

He said that celebrating important conservation events like PEW with children helps “imprint wildlife conservation into their young minds.”

“These children will inherit the country’s biodiversity resources. They are the next in line in being stewards of the environment, so it is important for them to learn the value of the Philippine eagle and all other species, especially those that are endemic to the Philippines that need to be preserved and protected as early as now,” Cimatu said.

Another highlight of this year’s PEW is the signing of the renewal loan wildlife agreement (LWA) between the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) and Manila Ocean Park involving dozens of Brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) and one White-breasted sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster).

Brahminy kite is one of the medium-sized raptors, with a white head and breast. The rest of its body is a striking chestnut brown, while the very tip of its tail is white.

The white-breasted or white-bellied sea eagle is a majestic bird of prey that lives near the ocean and other large bodies of water. Its bill is powerful and hooked so it can easily kill and dismember its prey, and its wingspan is a massive 1.8-2.2 meters.

Under the agreement, the BMB allows MOP to continually maintain in its facility the 51 individuals of Brahminy kite and one individual of White-breasted sea eagle for public education and other conservation-oriented purposes.

As borrower, MOP pays all costs associated with the loan, including the cost of storage and transportation. It is also obligated to report regularly on the status of the loaned wildlife.

MOP also allows duly authorized DENR officers and employees complete access to its facility to inspect and monitor status of the loaned wild animals.

Now on its 20th year, the PEW is observed annually from June 4 to 10 to celebrate the ecological importance and social significance of the Philippine eagle, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 79.

Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), also known as the monkey-eating eagle, is a giant raptor endemic to the country. It is considered one of the three largest and most powerful eagles in the world. Unfortunately, it is also one of the world’s rarest and among its most critically endangered vertebrate species.

Proclamation No. 615 issued in 1995 declared the Philippine eagle as the national bird of the Philippines. ###