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Philippine eagle ‘Geothermica’ succumbs to infection in Singapore

by Joanna Deala

GEOTHERMICA, one of the two Philippine eagles that were shipped to Singapore for conservation, succumbed to an infection at age 19, Mandai Wildlife Group announced.

The Singapore-based zoo said in a Facebook post that Geothermica, a male Philippine eagle, passed away on September 7, a day after he was admitted to an avian hospital in Bird Paradise when his care team observed that he was not feeling well. 

The result of his initial blood test showed that he was fighting an infection, Mandai Wildlife Group said.

“Geo was a fighter, and his care team and veterinarians did their best to save him,” it wrote in its post, along with a photo of Geothermica.

Mandai Wildlife Group said that the bird’s medical condition worsened on Thursday evening, when he collapsed and had to be resuscitated twice. 

Geothermica even underwent a blood transfusion to increase his chance of survival, but to no avail, it added.

It was also noted that his previous x-rays showed “severe infection in his lung,” which led to a guarded prognosis.

“This is a loss that they are still processing, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts,” the organization said.

Geothermica, along with a female Philippine eagle named Sambisig, were sent to Singapore in 2019 under a 10-year Wildlife Loan Agreement between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Wildlife Reserves Singapore in a bid to protect the raptors from extinction.

The Philippine eagle, one of the rarest eagles in the world, is on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with an estimated number of 400 pairs left in the wild. It is one of the 13 avians listed as critically endangered by the IUCN.

It is also included in the country’s National List of Threatened Species.

The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) also grieved the death of Geothermica, whom it called an “ambassador” of his kind.

Geothermica and Sambisig are the first eagle pairs to be placed under international cooperation, it said.

“Let us remember Geothermica for his huge contribution as a Species Ambassador in Singapore, where over 1.2 million guests from around the world experienced the majesty of the Philippines’ national symbol and how important global cooperation is to save its kind,” it said.

Both the embassies of the Philippines and Singapore mourned the passing of the Philippine eagle.

Tribute to Geothermica

Geothermica, or Geo to his care team, was born on January 7, 2004 to a mother named Kahayag and a father named Junior.

He was adopted by the Energy Development Corporation and was named after EDC’s core business, geothermal energy, based on his profile on the PEF’s website.

Prior to his Singapore trip, Geothermica, along with Sambisig, was under the care of the PEF.

Geothermica was 15 years old, while Sambisig was 17 years old, when they were sent off to the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore.

The PEF said it was the fourth pairing attempt for the two raptors. The two were paired before with other Philippine eagles, but none succeeded.

In a tribute video posted by Mandai Wildlife Group, Geothermica’s care team described him as an avian with a “very curious and very explorative personality.”

There were also times that the Philippine eagle displayed “very shy behavior,” observing guests from a high vantage point.

“He loved tending to his nest and decorating it with young sprigs and branches,” one of the members of his care team said.

Geothermica’s care team said that it is now focusing on Sambisig “to ensure that she is adapting well in this period of transition.”

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