The first Philippine eagle bred in captivity has sired her first offspring, in what conservationists said Thursday was a small victory in efforts to save one of the world's rarest raptors.
The bird was hatched after a dramatic wait on February 9 at the Philippine Eagle Foundation in the southern island of Mindanao. The chick's mother is an eagle named Pag-asa (Hope) that was the first raptor bred in captivity at the centre in 1992.
With a distinctive shaggy and cream-coloured crest, Pithecophaga jefferyi grows to up to 3.35 feet in length with a wing span of up to seven feet.
According to the foundation and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, there are only about between 180 to 500 pairs in the wild, mostly in the lush jungles of Mindanao, the country's main southern island.
The new hatchling is only the 25th bred in captivity at the centre, which has a total 37 of the eagles.
It took about 48 hours for the chick to emerge from the shell from the time it began breaking its way out, Salvador said.
"This underscores the fact that breeding these birds in captivity remains difficult," he said. Conservationists said decreasing forest cover and hunting by humans either for sport or food were to blame for the decreasing numbers.AFP