If Noah’s Ark were under PEF’s leadership
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Dennis Salvador aptly described the role of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) when he called its center in Davao City a “Noah’s Ark.” (“Davao sanctuary offers hope for Philippine eagle,” Front Page, 6/16/16). Like Noah’s Ark that saved animals from the Great Flood, the PEF center is fighting to preserve a species being pushed to the brink of extinction.
But that’s the end of the similarity. Had Salvador and company been in charge of Noah’s Ark, the facility would not have served its purpose because they would have flung open its doors before the earth was safe for animals, reasoning out that animals were meant to be out in the open. Unlike Noah, before giving back the animals their freedom, they never would have thought of sending out the raven and the dove to survey if the world was already habitable because of their burning conviction that freedom is the birthright of wild animals, a right that in no time should be tampered with.
Inexplicably, they are oblivious of the obvious: The very reason the center exists is, the wilds have become too dangerous for the species. According to reports, of the 15 eagles the center has so far released, “only one is known to be still alive in the wild,” four of them brought back to the center due to injuries while the rest are either confirmed or presumed dead. Compared to Noah’s perfect record, the PEF tote a horrible 1:14 success-failure ratio.
The news story says that one of the problems is the bird’s getting used to people while in the center so that when released, they go near human habitations where they get shot. What ridiculous logic! PEF curator Anna Mae Sumaya said they are trying to solve this by eliminating contact between humans and eagles being readied for release. After 15 releases, it’s only now that they’re trying to do something about the problem?
Also, Salvador said that “the key to the eagles’ survival was educating Filipinos about their plight and raising awareness about the need to stop logging, mining and other forest-destroying activities.” Any level-headed Filipino knows that situation is a dream, but the PEF acts as though it is already a reality thus, the unnecessary and costly loss of 10 precious eagles it has bred or rehabilitated.
Sumaya said that the center has no immediate plans to release eagles. Thankfully, after 14 casualties, it appears that the folly of releasing eagles without making sure of their safety first has at last penetrated their thick skulls. My two cents’ worth is they should never resume their bird-brained dispersal program until, like
Noah of old, they should first perform practical tests to show if the outside world is already safe for the birds.
—ESTANISLAO ALBANO JR., [email protected]
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