DAVAO CITY— 'Pag-asa' is no more.
The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) announced on Friday the passing of beloved Philippine Eagle Pag-asa, recognized as an icon of the national bird whose birth in 1992 "heralded hope for the critically endangered species and the entire conservation mission."
It would have turned 29 on January 15.
In a statement, PEF said Pag-asa succumbed to infections associated with Trichomoniasis and Aspergillosis, which are said to be fatal for raptors.
"Although treatment was done over a week ago, he continued to deteriorate and died at 8:03 p.m. on January 6."
Pag-asa, the first ever Philippine Eagle bred and hatched in captivity using cooperative artificial insemination (CAI) techniques following 14 years of research, was 28 years old.
In 2013, the PEF reached another milestone with Pag-asa with the birth of its only offspring, Mabuhay, who was also bred and hatched through CAI.
"Even after he retired from breeding, Pag-asa lived his life as an icon of hope for Filipinos, young and old, and was a constant inspiration to the people working tirelessly to save our National Bird from extinction."
The Philippine Eagle, a giant bird of prey that can only be seen in 4 islands in the Philippines- Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao- is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with an estimated number of only 400 pairs left in the wild.
More than 30 Philippine Eagles are currently under PEF's care in Barangay Malagos, Davao City.