A rare Philippine eagle was found dead from gunshot wounds nearly three years since its rescue.
Philippine animal rescuers were shocked to find a giant eagle they had just released dead from a gunshot wound.
The eagle had been under their care for the last three years when it was rescued as a juvenile from another gunshot wound.
The eagle had been released nearly two months ago at Mindanao’s Mount Hamiguitan reserve and was fitted with a radio collar.
The rescuers went and checked on the eagle after his collar stopped showing any signs of movement. They found him nearly a half mile where they had released him dead from a gunshot wound to his right breast.
Philippine giant eagles are listed on the critically endangered species list. There are only an estimated 400 pairs left in the wild, most of which reside on the island of Mindanao in the southern part of the Philippines. They are one of the world’s largest eagles growing to over three feet tall with wingspans over six feet.
This eagle makes the 30th one they have found dead or wounded in the last seven years. The Philippine Eagle Foundation estimates that gunshots account for nine out of every 10 of the deaths.
They currently have no leads on who shot the eagle, but they continue to search for clues. Charges will be pressed once the eagle’s killer is found.
Killing critically endangered species in the Philippines is punishable by up to 12 years in prison and comes with a one million peso ($21,600) fine.