Charles Darwin University
enews home

Conservationist awarded for eagle efforts

By Katie Weiss

Her Royal Highness Princess Anne with RIEL PhD candidate Jayson Ibanez Her Royal Highness Princess Anne with RIEL PhD candidate Jayson Ibanez

A PhD candidate at Charles Darwin University has been recognised for his efforts to prevent further decline of the critically endangered Philippine eagle.

Jayson Ibanez received the prestigious Whitley Award at a recent ceremony held in London by the Princess Royal, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne.

The Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods PhD candidate was one of seven recipients to be honoured with the award, which acknowledges the world’s most outstanding conservation leaders.

“I have made a conscious decision to spend the rest of my life rescuing the Philippine eagle from being lost forever,” Mr Ibanez said at the ceremony.

“As a fellow Filipino, I strongly believe the Philippine eagle has an equal right to survive and thrive.”

He is also the director for research and conservation at the Philippine Eagle Foundation in Davao City on the Philippines’ Mindanao Island, which aims to protect the giant forest raptor.

Mr Ibanez said factors, including logging, mining and farming contributed to the eagle’s decline on Mindanao Island.

“I am working with Indigenous local people and a dedicated team to stop eagles and their forest home from being lost,” he said.

“Local farmers from seven villages guard eagle nests, stop illegal loggers and help restore the forest, with each village protecting one eagle pair.”

Mr Ibanez began his PhD at CDU in 2010, after receiving an Australia Awards Scholarship from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

He joined the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at CDU in 2010 as a PhD student, investigating the integration of Indigenous ecological knowledge and Western science in Indigenous planning.

The Whitley Awards are made annually by the Whitley Fund for Nature, of which the Princess Royal is a patron.