Philippine authorities hunt killer of rare eagle

MANILA (AFP) — Authorities in the Philippines are hunting the person who mutilated and killed a rare eagle just four months after it was released into the wild, a conservation group said on Thursday.

The eagle’s severed legs and radio transceiver were found in a forest near the town of Sumilao in the southern Philippines on July 12 by members of the Philippine Eagle Foundation.

Named Kagsabua, a local tribal word meaning unity, the rare Philippine Eagle was found two years ago by local environment-protection volunteers in a chicken cage after it had been shot near Mount Kitanglad.

The foundation slowly rehabilitated the injured bird and released it back into the wild in March, said foundation spokeswoman Irene Melissa Macahis.

Sumilao Mayor Marie Ann Baula has ordered police to conduct an investigation and asked local volunteer groups to assist in tracing those behind the crime.

“Kagsabua’s release here in Sumilao has renewed our town’s commitment to a healthy environment.

I’m very sad that we lost him because of the bad intentions of the culprit,” Mayor Baula said in a statement.

The Environment Department has also ordered an investigation and a reward of 10,000 pesos (221 dollars) has been offered for the arrest of the perpetrator.

Those who kill endangered species like the Philippine Eagle could be jailed for up to 12 years and be fined as much as a million pesos, the Eagle Foundation said.

The Philippine Eagle, also known as the monkey-eating eagle, is the national bird and is also one of the largest eagles in the world. It has become critically endangered due to loss of forest cover and hunting.

The Philippine Eagle Foundation is dedicated to preserving the species, rescuing injured birds and breeding them in captivity.

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