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When you look into the eyes of a Philippine eagle, you can’t help but fall in love. 

It’s one of the rarest eagles in the world with only 400 pairs left in the wild. Their lives are threatened by human activity; they are being hunted and killed and their homes are cut down by illegal loggers. 

Now, look into its eyes again, and you can’t help but save it. 

Power of Images in Raising Concern and Awareness on the Plight of the Philippine Eagle

The short clip above is just a glimpse of the Bird of Prey, a documentary film about the Philippine eagle and its habitat. The film also shows the efforts of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) to save the eagles from extinction. 

It is successful in painting an intimate portrait of the eagle –it’s a style that Neil Rettig, one of the film’s cinematographers, has always been known for. He treats animal subjects as if they are human subjects. 

Laura Johnson, Expedition Coordinator for the film, expressed that they want to emotionally move the audience. “You can’t watch a family of eagle caring for their baby and working hard to feed it, and the baby learning to fly and what it’s like to be a Philippine eagle without being touched. There’s not much difference than a human family,” she said. 

Rettig agreed, “It’s very important to stimulate people and motivate people with these images so that they can see how magnificent the bird is, the eagle is, and the forest. […] without the forest, there will be no eagle, or other wild animals.”

Rettig makes a conscious effort to feature critically endangered species –the ones that need the most attention. The film has the power to inspire people to protect the forest and help save the eagle. 

PEF shares Rettig’s vision. “I think the film revolutionized the way we present the Philippine eagle [especially now it’s captured in high definition resolution],” Jayson Ibañez, Director for Research and Conservation of the PEF, said. 

The foundation can use the film clips on social media and in print as part of their efforts to educate the public about the Philippine eagle. Ibañez conveyed that the foundation is getting support and engagement online. “…though our Facebook posts and social media ads, we’ve generated tremendous interest from the public to know more about the Philippine eagle, we’re getting volunteers, we’re getting more funding,” he said. 

The Next Big Step: “It takes more than just belief…”

The need for PEF is at its peak – hunters are everywhere, people are cutting down more and more trees, and our Philippine eagles are dying. With all the threats to the Philippine rainforest, it would take more than sympathetic hearts to help save it, we need to act together, and we need to act now. 

Ibañez talked about the persistent efforts and campaigns they have been putting into the preservation of our rainforest. Apart from the continuous research and conservation at the Philippine Eagle Center, they have been trying to popularize culture-based conservation, using cultural values as a reason for upland communities to preserve the Philippine Eagle. “We’re finding out that indigenous people in the upland have their own stories, their own myths about Philippine Eagles which can be another reason for them to protect it. And then also using indigenous knowledge as one way of preserving not only the Philippine Eagle but also the forest,” he said. 

PEF encourages everyone to volunteer or donate. Every help counts. 

Mr. Johnson Ongking, Board Member of PEF and Boysen Paints Vice President, shared, “I think we have a similar vision to what the PEF has in terms of making sure again that the Philippines can be a prosperous place where Filipino families can enjoy a standard of living that is at par with the best countries in the world. That’s why we try to make sure our products are of world standard and that vision is consistent with preserving the environment so that we can still, not only enjoy the natural beauty of our country, but also help mitigate things like climate change that threaten the future of the Philippines and the world in general.”

In terms of the improvement of the entirety of the PEF, Ibañez expressed his gratitude towards the growing number of people willing to help the foundation both in cash and in kind. More and more people are acknowledging the need to save the Philippine Eagle and even more are voicing out their intention to help. With everyone’s help, they envision a bright future. “Finally, my hope is that perhaps by the next generation, the Philippine Eagle Foundation will become irrelevant,” Mr. Dennis Salvador, PEF Executive Director, left a lasting and rather challenging message for everyone.

But to achieve this, they need action. 

They are calling for you. They need you to help preserve the great Philippine Eagle, to help preserve nature for everyone’s sake. Check out https://www.philippineeaglefoundation.org to know what you can do, and maybe tell your friends about it too. 

Watch here the full Q&A portion with PEF, Neil Rettig, and Laura Johnson: 

For more about Boysen’s involvement to help the Philippine Eagle, read about Pinpin.

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