Philippine Eagles officially presented to Singapore at Jurong Bird Park

Mandai Park Holdings Group CEO Mike Barclay (leftmost) DENR Assistant Secretary Ricardo L. Calderon (second from left), Mandai Park Holdings Chairman S. Dhanabalan (third from left), Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan (third from right), Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap (second from right), and Vice Chairman of Philippine Eagle Foundation Jaime Bautista (rightmost) stand in between the portraits of two Philippine Eagles that are presently on loan and showcased at Jurong Bird Park as part of a breeding and conservation program. (Singapore PE photo)

Singapore — 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.

The guests of honor at the ceremony were Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan and Philippine 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 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, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, and Philippine Eagle Foundation.

Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap presents the symbolic Philippine Passports of Sambisig and Geothermica to Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan. (Singapore PE photo)

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. It 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.

Geo and Sam fondly called by their Singaporean caretakers are the first breeding pair of Philippine Eagles to be sent outside the Philippines as part of a recovery plan. (Singapore PE photo)

Geo and Sam are the first breeding pair of Philippine Eagles to be sent outside the Philippines as part of a recovery plan. 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 Philippine Eagle Foundation.

“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 during his remarks.

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