Safeguarding the Philippine eagle

Conservation areas for Philippine eagles are proposed to increase by 40%, taking the total area of  protected forest habitat to nearly 75,000 ha. This is thanks to Jayson Ibanez’s work with indigenous peoples and other partners, greatly improving the chances for this Critically Endangered species found only in the Philippines.

Credit: Klaus Nigge
Credit: Klaus Nigge

The increase in protected areas consists of:

  • The Indigenous Obu Manuvu Tribal Council of Baguio District declaring a Pusaka (Indigenous Protected Area) of nearly 15,000 ha of ancestral lands that includes two eagle nesting sites.
  • A proposed Indigenous and Community Conserved Area (ICCA) at Tago-Kimangkil Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) totalling 4,000 ha of eagle habitat (including two eagle territories).
  • A proposed national “Critical Habitat” at the Lituban-Quipit KBA in Zamboanga covering 1,300 ha of forest.

Population rediscovered

Jayson’s team, along with other project partners have documented the first recent records of Philippine eagles in the Cordillera Mountain Range of Luzon Island. Contrary to earlier scientific opinion, the 170,000 ha of lowland forests in Apayao appear to harbour a population of this distinct bird, vindicating claims by indigenous people that Philippine eagles have always existed in their ancestral forests.

New technology

As a direct result of Jayson’s Whitley Award, eagle nesting is now being monitored in 8 villages along with law enforcement activities to implement the Community Conservation & Development Plans that each village has adopted. This has involved training, equipping and engaging 179 indigenous forest guards to watch over 8 eagle pairs and over 10,000 ha of eagle nesting territory. The guards collect data through an app known as the ‘Landscapes and Wildlife Indicators (LAWIN) Biodiversity Monitoring System‘ app. Now Jayson is appealing to donors to donate tablets to the 8 villages so the app can be customised according to particular wildlife and threat indicators in those villages, maximising effective eagle conservation.