The UPLB Museum of Natural History, represented by its management, curators and staff, is saddened and disheartened by the killing of Pamana, one of few remaining Great Philippine Eagles in the wild. The murder of one of the world’s greatest raptors, once described by aviator Charles Lindbergh as the Earth’s noblest flier, is a senseless act of unimaginative proportions.

Pamana died at a young age of 3 years of a bullet that went through its breast. Pamana was female, essential for the gene pool of a beleaguered, critically-endangered species. As an essential top canopy predator, Pamana could have been in the future an important part of the ecological health of the Mt. Hamiguitan Mountain Range.

The eagle’s death is a serious blow to biodiversity conservation of threatened and endemic species in the country. It clearly sends this awful message: If the Philippine’s primary flagship species cannot be properly protected, then what more would be the kind of safeguards would we have for less charismatic species?

The conservationists amongst our ranks acknowledge that captive eagles released back into the wild will have to face major risks and high mortality rates, especially because of unabated hunting, shooting, and trapping. We do however also recognize that releasing eagles back to their natural environment is a risk we all have to accept.

But for a national symbol to be murdered within the confines of a UNESCO World Heritage site, a protected area, is truly alarming. Pamana’s death is depressing and indeed sets back our Philippine eagle conservation efforts.

The perpetrator must be caught and brought to justice. The full arm of Republic Act 9147 should be exacted on those responsible.

The idiocy of Pamana’s killing is a big blow to us Filipinos and to all those who have painstakingly worked to save the Great Philippine Eagle from extinction. We believe that while no organization should entirely be faulted, everyone should reflect on the tragedy and redraw measures to ensure that other Philippine Eagles would not suffer the same fate that of Pamana’s.

Educating the public on the state of our environment, our wildlife, and our Great Philippine Eagles is our gift to all the generations who will still be able to witness the soaring flight of our national bird.

We must all learn from this. We must finally educate ourselves as a nation. Let the death of Pamana not be in vain, let it be not the death of our legacy as a people.


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