Have you seen a bird fly, swoop down in water to catch a fish but instead of flying out of water, it falls on it?
This is exactly what happened to a juvenile White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster), as related by the five fishermen who rescued the bird in Brgy. Gargato, Hinigaran, Negros Occidental.
The said fishermen saw the sea eagle catching its prey until it got tired and eventually fell into the water. Upon seeing it, the fishermen hurried to rescue the bird. This incident was reported by Hinigaran Environment and Natural Resources Officer (ENRO) Aniceto Muñoz to CENRO Kabankalan City thru Supervising Ecosystems Management Specialist (SVEMS) Lucia Salazar.
SVEMS Salazar immediately called Forest Ranger Vladimer Piansay to proceed to the area. He was assisted by ENRO Muñoz and Brgy. Captain Eric John Lutario. The sea eagle was turned-over to Mr. Fernando Dino Gutierrez of the Feather Park Corporation, Kabankalan City for proper treatment and recovery. This was the first time CENRO Kabankalan City received a call for assistance over a rescued White-bellied sea eagle.
The said White-bellied sea eagle has an estimated measurement of 70-85 cm in length with a wingspan of at least two meters and weight of 4.2 kg. Their conservation status is Least Concern (LC) though human disturbance of their habitat such as human activities near their nests or the removal of suitable trees for their nesting threatens their population. They are diurnal (active during the day) bird of prey that loves to breed and hunt near bodies of water. Half of its diet is fish and when it hunts for food, it uses its long black talons (claws). Juveniles have brown plumage on its breast that is replaced with pure white feathers as it matures.
“Thank you to the Hinigaran fishermen who readily rescued the eagle, and to our partner LGU Hinigaran for the assistance and our technical team for the prompt action. Let the bird fly free!” said CENR Officer Fred Canto of DENR CENRO Kabankalan City.
“Biodiversity conservation is of utmost importance if we are to sustain our different ecosystems that provide us with everything we need. Our working together to achieve sustainability of our natural resources would ensure food security for all our people,” said DENR 6 regional executive director Livino B. Duran.