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Harpy Eagle Conservation Program in Ecuador

Principal Investigator: Ruth Muñiz-López

A Harpy Eagle nest with young.

Since the year 2000 we are developing in Ecuador an intensive program to project the Harpy Eagle ( Harpia harpyja ) and their habitat. The area where the program is being developed belongs to indigenous communities at the East of the country, and Afro Ecuadorian communities at the west. Five nests were monitored by now in the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin, but this year was discovered one Harpy Eagle nest with a juvenile at the endangered forest at the West of the Andean Mountains, the first one known in South America. This nest is the most southern report for the distribution of this species at the West of the Andean Mountains. We are monitoring East and West nests collecting data about the develop of the juveniles, behavior, diet, habitat characterization, interactions between parents and juvenile and inter-specific interactions. Actually, the GIS tool is starting to be used to join and interpret all the data. Aside from that, a training program for local people was developed to include the work of indigenous or native people collecting data and caring for the nests. Moreover, they are the main source of information when we have news about new nests. The next step is to tag the Western juvenile with a VHF transmitter to look for its dispersion movements. To do that, observations have to be very carefully collected and the use of a good optical equipment is required. Optics for the Tropics allowed us to leave with native people the instruments to do that observations. Besides that, one new eaglet was born in the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin and we started the monitoring there. Indigenous people, biology students and the researcher are collecting data about this first step in the develop of a Harpy Eagle and new information is being given about this relatively unknown species.

All this work aloud indigenous and native people to use the maintenance of their natural resources like an alternative source of develop. Logging activities, invasions of new people to extract these resources and oil companies offer economic increase for these communities, most of the times with no respect for cultures or biodiversity richness.

Ruth Muñiz-López
harpyec@yahoo.com
Programa de Conservación Águila Harpía en Ecuador (PCAHE)
SIMBIOE (Sociedad para la Investigación y Monitoreo de la Biodiversidad Ecuatoriana)

Looking up from the ground.
A working group of Ecuadorian people.
Taking notes in the tower.
Looking east from the tower.
Group photo in the tower.
Looking west.
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