28 November 2019 – Philippine Eagles, Geothermica and Sambisig, who are now fondly called Geo and Sam, were officially presented to the public and media in a ceremony hosted by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) at the Jurong Bird Park on 27 November 2019. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the ongoing year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Philippines-Singapore diplomatic relations and the launch of the Philippine Eagle exhibit at Jurong Bird Park.
Guests of Honor at the ceremony were Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Assistant Secretary Ricardo L. Calderon. Also in attendance were Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings (parent entity of WRS) Mr. Mike Barclay, Mandai Park Holdings Chairman Mr. S Dhanabalan, Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) Vice Chairman Jaime Bautista, Embassy officers, staff, and heads of attached agencies, other representatives of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, WRS, and PEF, as well as the media.
Geo and Sam are the first breeding pair of Philippine Eagles to be sent outside the Philippines as part of a recovery plan. Proclaimed as the National Bird by President Fidel V. Ramos in 1995, the Philippine Eagle is considered the world’s largest extant eagle and one of the rarest raptors and is critically endangered, with only about 400 pairs surviving in the wild. The birds are in Singapore under a 10-year renewable conservation breeding loan agreement signed between DENR and WRS.
Any future offspring of the eagles will also be returned to the Philippines to contribute to the sustainability of the species’ population under human care. Both Geo and Sam, 15 and 17 years old respectively, were hatched under human care at the PEF.
“As ambassadors of Philippine biodiversity, the pair of Philippine Eagles here in Singapore shall champion the cause towards safeguarding ecosystems and species and improve the status of biodiversity. Sambisig and Geothermica shall continue to remind us in our fight against illegal wildlife trade particularly in the ASEAN region where these wonderful creatures are hunted,” Assistant Secretary Calderon said. END