Critically endangered Philippine eagle hangs on despite horde of threats

Once inhabiting every island in the Philippines, the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) – the world’s longest eagle – now occupies a fraction of its former range and is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Habitat loss is the eagle’s biggest threat. More than 70 percent of the Philippine’s forests have been cleared since the 1970s to make room for urban and agricultural expansion, pushing the eagles higher into the mountains and fragmenting their available habitat. Satellite data show recent encroachment into primary forest in several areas of remaining eagle habitat. Conservationists say one of these areas – a protected watershed area on the island of Mindanao – is controlled by armed groups, which reap profits from illegal logging enterprises. Eagle habitat further north on the island of Luzon was recently affected a strong typhoon, which hit the east coast of the island in September and which the World Meteorological Association attributed to human-caused climate change. Conservationists worry a national ban on open-pit mining will be overturned, leading to more habitat loss as mining companies rush to exploit gold and copper deposits, and that hydroelectric projects will further reduce nesting sites for the eagles. Its cement wings spanning over […]

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