Singapore president is 1st foreign head of state to visit Eagle Center

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SINGAPORE PRESIDENT Halimah Yacob will visit the Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) today, the first foreign head of state to do so. “I hope that through this spotlight, it will open investments on facility development and more importantly, it’s doing more to protect the species in the wild. This, in turn, means investing on protecting our forests and attending to the welfare of human communities in the upland,” Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) Executive Director Dennis I. Salvador told BusinessWorld in a text message. In July this year, two Philippine eagles, a 15-year-old male named Geothermica and a 17-year-old female named Sambisig, were brought to the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore as part of a breeding loan agreement to help increase the eagles’ population. “(The) eagles in Singapore are doing well,” Mr. Salvador said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Salvador also said that they will be submitting a position paper to the Davao City government for the reclassification of the PEC area as a protected zone from the current agricultural production area. He explained that under the current zoning, the eagles in the center are vulnerable to toxins as well as human disturbance. PEF will seek the establishment of a 50-meter buffer zone around the PEC as a “screen wall” and an additional 500 meter agricultural non-tillage zone around. The 8.4-hectare PEC is located within the Malagos watershed at the city’s Baguio District. It serves as a conservation and breeding facility for the critically endangered Philippine Eagle and other birds of prey. — Maya M. Padillo