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PIA Press Release

Spanish savant to help in RP eagle reproduction program

by RG Alama

Davao City (7 December) -- Juan Blanco, a Spanish scientist of the Centro Estudios de Rapaces Ibericas in Toledo, Spain is in Davao City to work with biologists and eagle keepers at the Philippine Eagle center and share his expertise in eagle reproduction.

Known for his extensive work with a wide range of birds of prey in the Iberian Peninsula including the Spanish Imperial eagle, the Bonellis Eagle and the Golden Eagle. Blanco will sharing techniques in assisted reproduction and artificial insemination.

Blanco is partnering with the Phil. Eagle Foundation staff in optimizing protocols for the cryogenic preservation of eagle semen. Cryogenics which involve freezing diluted samples of semen in liquid nitrogen in 196 degree centigrade temperature preserves eagle semen for long periods of time and serves as a back-up plan in the event that breeding stocks are no longer viable.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to exchange information," said Blanco. The Spanish scientist said that the application protocols would involve a study of the Philippine eagles since there are a different set of protocols for each species of eagles.

Blanco said that he finds the Philippine Eagle a magnificent creature and is amazed at its size, which is one of the largest eagles in the world next only to the Harpy's eagle.

He said that current cryogenic facilties in the PEF in Malagos would enable them to start the reproduction process. However he said that funds are still needed to upgrade these facilities. According to Blanco, the cryogenic facilities need more containers to store more semen and a set of alarms to warn the staff of an change of temperature in the cryogen facilities.

He also said that a study on the genetic make-up of other populations of Philippine Eagle especially those found in Visayas and Luzon is also needed. Blanco said that the current captive breeding population in Malagos should be representative of the entire populations of Philippine eagle found all over the country and not just eagles found in Mindanao. (PIA XI) [top]

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