Yes he’s a juvenile and yes he’s a fighter; but he’s no regular, run-of-the-mill juvenile fighter. At his young age he’s been through a lot, he’s seen and experienced a lot more than many of his age and he’s lived to tell you all about it.
Meet “Fighter”, a 3-year old Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) currently under the care of the Philippine Eagle Foundation at Malagos, Davao City.
Also known as the “monkey-eating eagle”, it is considered the largest of the extant eagles in the world in terms of length and wing surface. Among the rarest and most powerful birds in the world, it has been declared as the National Bird of the Philippines. (source: Wikipedia; Philippine Eagle)
His tale begins as one of the few bred and born in the wild forests of Mati, Davao Oriental. Barely 2 years old in 2015, he had just left his parents care and exploring on his own when tragedy befell him. Soaring above the treetops, a hunter shot him, hitting him on his left wing. Upon discovery by locals, he was endorsed to the Philippine Eagle Foundation for rescue and rehabilitation but sadly, they had to amputate his left wing to prevent infection from setting in.
The first time I was able to get up close and photograph Fighter, I could see how expressive he was. Regal one moment, forlorn the next (or was it my camera and emotions playing with me, i don’t know).
He is now housed at the Philippine Eagle Center, a clear and constant reminder to everyone to be aware of the damage we are doing to this majestic creature; whether through hunting, destruction of his natural habitat, or just plain sport. We are reminded that this specie is on the Critically Endangered List, only two steps away from extinction. So please let us do our part in saving him and his kind; help spread awareness by teaching our fellow men the importance of saving their habitat, and not harming them for sport or trophy.
His dream of soaring the skies is now over, but his purpose of teaching us is only just beginning. Everything lies in our hands now.