Welcome to the world, Chick #29!
Five years may be too long a wait, but it was well worth it to finally be able to welcome the 29th successfully bred Philippine Eagle chick!
As announced by the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) on Monday, “Chick No. 29” hatched last Saturday at exactly 1:16 PM. The egg was first laid in conservation last October 10 by female Philippine eagle Ariela along with her male pair MVP Matatag, both of which were rescued from the wild.
The cute chick took only 25 hours and 13 minutes to hatch since it first poked its beak out of the egg, thereby setting the time for the “fastest pip-to-hatch record” in the Philippine Eagle Center’s (PEC) breeding program.
“This chick just couldn’t wait to say hello to the world!” the PEF wrote on social media.
The birth of Chick No. 29 is the most welcome news for the year that saw the passing of Pag-Asa, the first Philippine eagle bred in captivity. Pag-Asa, who was bred through cooperative artificial insemination back in 1992, died from a fatal disease just a week before his birthday last January.
Nonetheless, Chick No. 29 sparks new hope for PEC Executive Director Dennis Salvador, who described the painstaking process of hatching an eaglet.
“It took us this long for those pairings to work,” said Salvador, who noted the importance of Chick No. 29’s birth because “many of our old breeding birds have retired, and we’ve been working on new ones.”
“We share this milestone with the Filipino people who have supported us through their donations and helped keep the PEC a safe home for our national bird amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said per the Manila Bulletin.
Chick No. 29 is currently under monitoring within PEC’s facilities, where, fortunately, another hatchling is waiting to be born.
“Hopefully, it turns out to be fertile. We’ll know after a couple of weeks,” Salvador added.
Organized in 1987, the Philippine Eagle Foundation dedicates itself to the rescue and preservation of the rare and critically endangered Philippine Eagle, whose number continues to dwindle. Currently, there are only an estimated 400 pairs left within its rainforest habitats in Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao.
Art Daniella Sison