The eagles have landed: Singapore shows off rare Philippine raptors

A male Philippine eagle named Geothermica is seen in an exclosure at Jurong Bird Park in Singapore on November 27, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 28 November 2019

The eagles have landed: Singapore shows off rare Philippine raptors

  • Destruction of tropical rainforest and relentless hunting have decimated the population of the Philippine Eagle
  • The bird of prey, which has white and brown plumage and an enormous wingspan, is classified as ‘critically endangered’

SINGAPORE: Singapore showed off two critically-endangered eagles Wednesday that were loaned from the Philippines as part of a breeding program to reverse the dwindling numbers of the feathered giants.
Destruction of tropical rainforest and relentless hunting have decimated the population of the Philippine Eagle — one of the world’s biggest and most powerful birds whose wingspan can reach 2 meters — with only around 800 believed left in the wild, conservationists say.
The birds, Geothermica and Sambisig, are the first breeding pair ever to be sent outside the Philippines and arrived in Singapore in June on a 10-year loan from Manila.
The creatures are being cared for at the city-state’s main aviary and were shown to the media Wednesday, as part of events marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between the countries.
“Any future offspring of the eagles will be returned to the Philippines to contribute to the sustainability of the species’ population,” said Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which runs the aviary.
The scheme has echoes of China’s “panda diplomacy,” which sees the Asian giant send the black and white bears to countries as gifts.

A breeding program is also being carried out in the Philippines by a small band of conservationists at a sanctuary outside the southern city of Davao, close to the eagles’ main forest habitat.
The bird of prey, which has white and brown plumage and an enormous wingspan, is classified as “critically endangered” by protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Homemade ‘Nikes’ give Filipino athlete a golden edge

Updated 14 December 2019

Homemade ‘Nikes’ give Filipino athlete a golden edge

  • Filipino schoolgirl Rhea Bullos bags three gold medals at an athletics competition without wearing shoes
  • Schoolgirl had her feet wrapped in tape and iconic Nike ‘swoosh’ logo drawn on them

MANILA: To some athletes, brands count for everything when it comes to performance.
Filipino schoolgirl Rhea Bullos bagged three gold medals at an athletics competition this week without wearing shoes, opting instead to wrap her feet in tape and draw an iconic Nike “swoosh” logo on them.
Bullos, 11, was one of several on her team of 12 athletes who made their own footwear because they had only two pairs of running shoes among them at the competition in the central province of Iloilo.
Trainer Predirick Valenzuela said Bullos showed her raw talent after taking up athletics only a month ago. A pair of running shoes could make a big difference in future, he said.
“Winning three medals in a competition like that is difficult, but she did it,” Valenzuela said by telephone from the central province of Iloilo.
“It’s every athlete’s dream to wear spike shoes,” Valenzuela added. “Not necessarily Nike, as long as they have decent shoes to be able to compete.”