MANILA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines has launched a renewed campaign to celebrate the life of its national bird, the Philippine Eagle, and increase awareness on efforts to save the critically endangered rare bird from extinction.
The Philippine Eagle is a giant bird of prey that can only be seen in the forests of the Philippines.
With unique blue-grey eyes, broad wingspan and powerful talons, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) said this bird species "is unlike many birds in the world." It is considered to be one of the largest and most powerful among forest raptors.
"As an endemic species, the Philippine Eagle already serves as a global heritage that requires concerted efforts of the international community for conservation," Philippine Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said Sunday as the nation celebrates Philippine Eagle Week (PEW) on June 4-10.
With the theme "The Philippine Eagle: A National symbol, A Global treasure," this year's PEW activities highlight that the Philippine eagle, while endemic to the Philippines, is a global heritage that requires concerted efforts of the international community for its conservation.
"Let the 2019 PEW celebration instill in the minds of the Filipinos, the significance of our national bird as an iconic symbol, our desire to rise and soar as a nation like the eagles and transform such realizations into concrete actions that would contribute to the conservation and protection of their forest habitats," the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines said in a statement on Sunday.
Celebrating the 21st year of the PEW, the DENR said the Philippines rejoices as a pair of captive-bred Philippine eagles make their way to Singapore on June 4 as "ambassadors" of Philippine biodiversity.
The loaning of Philippine eagles, Geothermica and Sambisig, to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) "is a historic milestone in our conservation efforts for this critically endangered (CR) raptor, as we engage for the first time, a foreign wildlife facility, the WRS-Jurong Bird Park in the conservation breeding of our national bird."
The Philippines signed last month a wildlife agreement with Singapore that paves the way for the Philippines to loan a pair of male and female Philippine eagles to the city-state, a move that Philippine officials hope will help preserve one of the rarest eagles in the world.
Under the 10-year renewable agreement, the Philippines will ship 15-year-old male eagle named Geothermica and 17-year-old female eagle named Sambisig to Singapore on June 4. The eagles will be shown to the public in July.
The two raptors will be staying at Jurong Bird Park, one of the largest bird park in Asia that is home to close to 3,500 birds across 400 species, of which 20 percent is threatened.
The two eagles were bred in captivity at the Philippines Eagle Center in Davao City in the southern Philippines.
The PEF said the eagles can live up to 40 plus years in captivity but probably much less in the wild. However, the foundation said it takes five to seven years for the eagles to sexually mature.
The PEF has produced 28 captive-bred eagles at the Philippine Eagle Center, which includes Geothermica and Sambisig.