Pag-asa, the first Philippine Eagle bred in captivity, has passed away

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Pag-asa, the first Philippine Eagle bred and hatched in captivity and a renowned figure in the country's wildlife conservation fight, has passed away, the Philippine Eagle Foundation announced on Friday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 8) — Pag-asa, the first Philippine Eagle bred and hatched in captivity and a renowned figure in the country's wildlife conservation fight, has passed away, the Philippine Eagle Foundation announced on Friday.

The 28-year-old eagle died on Wednesday, due to infections associated with trichomoniasis and aspergillosis, both fatal for raptors, the group said in a statement.

Pag-asa would have turned 29 on January 15.

"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 foundation said.

Born on Jan. 15, 1992, Pag-asa became a widely known symbol of, as his name translates, hope. His successful birth through artificial insemination was the result of 14 years of research and further spurred the Philippine Eagle Foundation's breeding program of three decades to augment the national bird's population, which is frequently threatened by habitat destruction and poaching.

A Philippine Eagle can live up to more than 40 years in captivity, but at least one is shot by hunters every year. It is considered to be critically endangered, with only 400 pairs left soaring in the wild.

A critically endangered species means they are "threatened with global extinction", according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.