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Tuesday 29th July, 2014

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Philippine Eagle-Owl Project

PHILIPPINE OWLS CONSERVATION PROGRAMME (POCP) After two postponements, the transport of two female Philippine eagle-owls finally occurred on the 20th of April.  The birds will join the 6 (3♂♂2♀♀+1) eagle-owls currently housed at the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation, Incorporated – Biodiversity Conservation Center (NFEF-BCC)I.  Two pairs make up the breeding programme.  The transport of the two females from the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau Wildlife Rescue Center (PAWB-WRC) will hopefully result in the eventual formation of an additional naturally-bonded pair to increase the breeding potential of the species at the NFEFI-BCC.

A memorandum of agreement that established the POCP was entered into on 7th May 1998 by and between the DENR and the World Owl Trust and  Owl Taxon Advisory Group (WOT/OTAG), represented by Victor Ramos, Secretary of DENR, and Tony Warburton, Director of the WOT/Chairman of OTAG, and notarized by Hon. Jose Dumangas.  After an endorsement by the Wildlife Rescue Center (WRC) Officer-in-charge Dr. Esteven U. Toledo, two Philippine eagle-owls of Luzon Island origin were approved for transport from the WRC to the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation, Inc. Biodiversity Conservation Center (NFEFI – BCC).  Local transport permits were secured in February through the office of Dr. Perfecta B. Hinojosa, Regional Technical Director for the Protected Areas Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Services (PAWCZMS).  However, because transport permits are only valid for one month, the said permit was revalidated to apply for March 13 – April 30 instead.  On the other hand, a veterinary health certificate was issued on 18th April by Dr. Florence D. Silvano, Chief of the National Quarantine Services of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

Several months prior to the agreed transport, five eagle-owls were subjected to surgical sex determination using endoscopy (please refer to attached report in Appendix 1).  The results of this procedure are summarized in the table below:

Table 1. List of Philippine eagle-owls that underwent surgical sexing

Philippine eagle-owls
House No./ID Markings Sex Female Parent Male Parent Place of Origin
EO1/WOT 68 Red Rt Female Wildborn Wildborn Luzon Island
EO2/WOT 97 Red Rt Female Wildborn Wildborn Luzon Island
EO3/WOT 76 Red Rt Female Wildborn Wildborn Luzon Island
EO4/WOT 68 Yellow Lft Male Wildborn Wildborn Luzon Island
EO5 Female Wildborn Wildborn Luzon Island

However, two days later, two of the birds, with leg band identifications WOT68 yellow and WOT76 red, a male and a female, respectively, succumbed to post-surgery stress.  Post mortem findings for these two mortalities are reported in Appendix 2.  After re-evaluation, Dr. Toledo decided to send only two females to NFEFI – BCC.

Health inspections and pre-departure health protocols such as the administration of anti-endoparasite medication was performed by the WRC in-house veterinarian Dr. Val Felizardo.  Blood samples were also collected for submission to the Bureau of Animal Industry diagnostic laboratory.  Only Newcastle Disease screening was done.  During this period, the birds were also transferred to separate holding cages some meters away from the main collection.  No proper quarantine holding areas exist in the facility, however all precaution was taken to ensure that the birds intended for transport remain healthy and in good condition.

At three in the morning of 20th April, the two eagle-owls were caught and put into wood transport crates.  A brief health inspection was performed by Dr. Leo Jonathan Suarez, curator-veterinarian of the NFEFI – BCC with Dr. Felizardo.  Thirty minutes later, both birds were transported to the Philippine Airlines Centennial Airport for transport to Bacolod.  Dr. Suarez was set to accompany the animals and see to their transport from the Bacolod Airport to the NFEFI – BCC.  Unfortunately, a few minutes before departure, Dr. Suarez was informed that the plane does not have a ventilation system in the cargo area.  Meanwhile, air transport officials have rescheduled the owl’s transport to the next flight at 9 AM.  As Dr. Suarez has already boarded the plane at that time, there was nothing to do but to take the flight and wait for the arrival of the owls at the Bacolod Airport at 10 AM.  Fortunately, the owls arrived in Bacolod without incident.

Upon arrival at the NFEFI – BCC, the owls were housed inside the aviary building for quarantine.  Precautionary medication, such as prophylactic antibiotics and anti-parasite drugs were given: oral antibiotic, co-amoxiclav (Natravox®) at 10 mg/kg for 10 days; oral dewormer, pyrantel embonate (Combantrin®) at 4.5 mg/kg; intramuscular injection of vitamin B complex and vitamins A, D and E, also given intra-muscular.  After the quarantine period of days, the two owls will be alternately housed in a flight aviary with the unpaired male.  This will hopefully encourage the formation of a naturally-bonded pair.

Acknowledgements
NFEFI-BCC and FFI-PBCP would like to acknowledge the following that were instrumental in the programme and the achievement of this transport: Avilon Zoological Gardens (Philippines); Banham Zoo and the Friends of Banham Zoo (U.K); World Owl Trust (U.K.); Zoo Landau (Germany); and the Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP, Germany).

Individuals:
Dr. Nielsen Donato, Dr. Val Felizardo, Joaquin Gaw, Dr. Cristina Georgii, Dr. Perfecta B. Hinojosa, Dr. Mundita Sison-Lim, Dr. Johannes delos Santos, Dr. Esteven Toledo, Dr. Florence Silvano, Tony Warburton, Roland Wirth and Matthew Yuyek

Philippine government agencies:
Bureau of Animal Industry; Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau; and Protected Areas and Wildlife Division.

Report compiled by:
Leo Jonathan Suarez, DVM
Curator – Veterinarian
NFEFI – BCC

Emilia A. Lastica, DVM
Programme Assistant
FFI – PBCP


1st June 2006

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