DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Eagle Foundation saw the avian flu outbreak in Pampanga as an “extreme danger” to the endangered Philippine Eagle prompting the agency to implement a two-day temporary closure at the Philippine Eagle Center.
In a statement issued on Monday, Aug.14 the PEF announced the temporary closure effective on August 15 to 16.
“This is to allow our team to set up necessary emergency measures and ensure the safety of our Philippine Eagle and other Raptors in the facility,” the PEF said.
However, Dennis Salvador, executive director of the PEF, said the possible extension of the closure is on the table.
“It depends on the plans that we will come up with,” Salvador told Davao Today in a phone interview.
He said they would be discussing plans with their consultants from abroad on the needed measures to address the threat against the Philippine Eagle.
“It is a clear and present danger to the population,” Salvador said.
He said the center currently houses 35 Philippine Eagles which represents “nearly 10 percent of the global population.”
Salvador said they warned the government four years ago of a possible avian flu outbreak. He said they even drafted a risk management plan which included the establishment of an alternative breeding center for the Philippine Eagle, which needs permission from the government.
“But the proposal has not moved forward and still, the approval is with the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources),” Salvador said.
He said the alternate breeding center would possibly be located in the United States.
“Now it’s practically on our doorstep, and we are crafting plans to minimize the threat,” he added.
Salvador said they are unsure whether the threat has not yet reached the city as the outbreak started since April this year.
“Apparently, it’s been going on in Pampanga since April pa and the news just came out now. If that is the case, we really don’t know if somehow the flu has reached here,” he said.
Salvador said within two days they would install added bio-safety measures, including the addition of locker rooms of the staff where they can change clothes before entering the facility.
“We will also meet the staff at all levels for the control measures; we are also waiting for feedbacks from our local and foreign consultants,” he said.
Salvador said they are also awaiting updates from the Department of Agriculture.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol announced last Friday that there is an outbreak of the avian influenza Type A subtype H4 from a quail farm in Barangay San Agustin in San Luis, Pampanga.(davaotoday.com)