BURAUEN, Leyte- The Mamanwa tribe living in Barangay Kagbana, this town, is helping in the protection of the national bird.
Bernal Managbanag, the chieftain of the tribe in an interview during the second Mahagnao outdoor festival, held here recently, confirms the presence of the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyii) in their village saying that the big bird “can carry a wild piglet weighing 10 to 15 kilos.”
He added that they observe that eagle also eats snakes, monkeys, weasel and other animals.
The members of the Mamanwa participated in the festival that promoted environmental conservation, protection and ecotourism of the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park, here.
Managbanag said that they recognized the bird as the Philippine eagle when the personnel from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, regional office 8 (DENR-8), based in Tacloban City introduced to them the animal before the occurrence of supertyphoon “Yolanda” in 2013.
Managbanag said that they have been observing the presence of the bird in their area many years ago and there were people hunting it for food.
He added that his tribe is now protecting the bird after the DENR-8 personnel asked them to protect it.
DENR-8 Regional Director Leonardo said that based on their initial assessment, the Philippine eagle is roaming along the forests in the Anonang-Lobi mountain ranges located at the boundaries of the towns of Burauen-Jaro-Albuera and Ormoc City.
He added that his men in the field are further conducting studies on the range or how far is the coverage of the Philippine eagle forest habitat in Leyte.
Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, in an interview, said when it was confirmed that the Philippine eagle exists in the province sometime in 2014, his office immediately conducted information dissemination for its protection.
Eagles should not be harmed as they are protected under our laws, Petilla said.
Petilla and Sibbaluca are appealing for and soliciting support from the general public, the local government units, private organizations, stakeholders and concerned other concerned government agencies to help preserve the Philippine Eagle now freely flying in the mountain ranges of Leyte island.