Philippine hawk eagle rescued in Cagayan

A concerned citizen found the Lawin or Philippine hawk eagle tangled in a cornfield and brought it to the Office of the Mayor in Baggao, Cagayan. (Photo credit: USAID/B+WISER)

A juvenile Lawin (Philippine hawk eagle, Nisaetus philippensis) has been rescued and brought to the custody of a wildlife rescue center in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, thanks to a concerned citizen who found it and surrendered it to proper authorities. Placed in a small plastic cage with a few slices of fresh pork meat, the bird was brought to the Office of the Mayor in the municipality of Baggao. According to its rescuer, the raptor was found tangled in a cornfield due to the shoelace tied to one of its legs. Recognizing it as a Lawin and knowing that it is an endangered species, he decided to bring it to authorities for protection. “It does not seem to be injured and is used to the presence of humans, which seems to indicate that it has been in captivity for some time and just escaped,” said one of the DENR officers, who incidentally was having a meeting with the mayor, along with B+WISER, CENRO Alcala, and the town’s Multi-sectoral Forest Protection Committee when the Lawin arrived. The bird was brought to a wildlife rescue center, where it will be sheltered and checked for possible injuries or health problems. The incident was reported to the Wildlife Protection Division of the DENR's Biodiversity Management Bureau.

The Lawin or Philippine hawk eagle is a bird of prey that is endemic to the Philippines. It is considered endangered due to the loss of its habitat (subtropical or tropical lowland forests), and is one of the main species that USAID's B+WISER Program aims to protect with its forest protection and biodiversity conservation initiatives. Citing the Journal of Raptor Research, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species stated that about “200-220 pairs (of this species) were estimated in the late 1990s.” The site estimates that as of 2016, there were about 400-600 individuals living in Luzon’s wildlife sanctuaries and protected forests. B+WISER hopes to increase this number through reinforced forest protection using the Lawin protection system, named after the bird.