TACLOBAN CITY- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR) here in the region has issued anew its call for the preservation of Samar Island’s remaining forests following reports of sightings of the Philippine eagle, whose specie is on the brink of extinction, at the Samar Island National Park (SINP). DENR-8 Regional Director Leonardo Sibbaluca said that he is urging and soliciting support from the local government units, stakeholders, private groups and the public for the preservation of the remaining forests in the Island of Samar serving as the habitat of the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi).
He pointed out that the participation of the public and other stakeholders is crucial in the preservation of the Samar’s forests and DENR cannot do it alone. Sibbaluca said that a team composed of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) and the Institute of Biology of the University of the Philippines – Diliman has sighted twice and reconfirmed the existence of the national bird in the forests of Samar Island.
He said that the team reports sightings of the mighty eagle in the thickly forested Barangay Buluan in Calbiga and within the Taft Forest Wildlife (Philippine Eagle) Sanctuary Taft, Eastern Samar during their expedition, September 19 to October 4, 2014, both areas within the SINP, he added. The Philippine eagle was first spotted in Paranas, Samar on June 15, 1896 by a British naturalist John Whitehead.
Sibbaluca said that the existence of the Philippine eagle in Samar forests has also been reported of in the early 1980’s and the sightings of the bird in 1997, caused then President Joseph Estrada to declare the 3,720 hectares of Samar forest as Taft Forest Wildlife (Philippine Eagle) Sanctuary on July 31, 1999 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 155.
Sibbaluca pointed out that the existence of Philippine eagle and other wildlife in the area depends on its condition of the remaining forests in the island. He said that the presence of the Philippine eagle in Samar forests indicates the rich biodiversity of the area and is favorable for the existence of the national bird and other endemic and endangered species in the island. (RESTITUTO A.CAYUBIT)