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Friday 28th November, 2014

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More Brilliant News From The Philippines

In June, we received the marvellous news that following our success in breeding the world’s first-ever captive-bred Philippine Eagle Owl at the Biodiversity Conservation Centre we support on the island of Negros (NFEFI-BCC, see Newsletter 32), the Philippine Government had authorized the transfer of two more Luzon-origin Eagle Owls to reinforce our founder base for this seriously endangered species. After two postponements, the new birds arrived at the Centre on 20 April 2006, giving us a total of eight individuals at NFEFI-BCC, comprising the five adults received on breeding loan from the Avilon Montalban Zoological Park (2 females and 3 males) in November 2002, the two new birds from the government’s own Wildlife Rescue Centre in Quezon City (2 females), and the young bird ‘Bubo’ (yet another female!) bred last year. Obviously we are delighted that ‘Bubo’ is a female, for if we can get her compatible with the lone male ‘Duwag’, we can make up a third unrelated potential breeding pair. Having said that, the fact that she has fledged successfully, is healthy and is now living independently from her parents (in fact they became aggressive towards her around June this year when they came back into breeding condition!), is good enough news to be getting on with, as I am sure you will agree – and if he doesn’t take to ‘Bubo’, he now has a choice of two more mates.

Eagle Owlet

We did, in fact, have high hopes that a fourth male would be joining our breeding group, for initially it had been agreed that subject to health checks and surgical sexing, all five of the Rescue Centre’s remaining Eagle Owls could come to Negros – and sexing had revealed that one of these was indeed a male. The necessary checks had taken place way back in July 2005, but sadly two of the birds soon after and unfortunately one of these proved to be the only male! Unfortunately, these unforeseen mortalities resulted in a delay in transferring the birds to NFEFI-BCC, and in the event, just two birds ultimately arrived – both females! However, it is still good to receive further bloodlines and we are extremely grateful for the loan of these extra birds. All we need to do now is breed a couple more males and we may well have six breeding pairs one day! Now that really would be something, and perhaps a big step towards our dream of getting a breeding programme underway for a genuine ‘Red Data’ owl species at the World Owl Centre here in the UK. Our desire to do this is to further safeguard the long term survival of this endangered endemic owl and to learn as much about its biology as we can in order to help it in its wild state.

Stop Press: What a wonderful early Christmas present – we have just learned that a second Eagle Owlet hatched at NFEFI-BCC somewhere around 14 October. Once again the parents were ‘Hinahon’ and ‘Suplada’ and Curator Leo Suarez has E-mailed me with the good news that the youngster is still alive and doing very well at just over 3 weeks old. It is already standing up and has feathers growing on its wings – just like last years owlet at this stage. Let’s hope it’s a boy.

Tony Warburton

Extracted from Summer 2006 Newsletter

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