Harpy Eagle Breeding at the Neotropical Raptor Center (July 2001)
Angel Muela— 27 July 2001 — in Harpy Eagle Conservation and Research ShareWithin the last year we have secured an excellent arrangement with various Panamanian governmental organizations, most notably the National Environment Authority, City of Knowledge, and the Panama Canal Authority. Through their strong support we now have offices and housing, as well as a large bit of rainforest adjacent to a national park. And this, minutes from Panama City! The Neotropical Raptor Center (NRC), which is The Peregrine Fund’s facility for the region, is home to our Harpy Eagle and Orange-breasted Falcon (OBF) Projects, and it will diversify as needs arise.
The Center, close to being finished, already houses two young pairs of Harpy Eagles. One of the pairs recently laid eggs. In addition, the Harpy Eagles that are now breeding at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise will soon be moved to Panama. In the future, the NRC will also house Orange-breasted Falcons in a state-of-the-art breeding facility. We hope to be fully operational in 2002. Orange-breasted Falcons are probably one of the world's rarest falcons and have been studied for many years beginning with Vice President Pete Jenny’s pioneer research in the late 1970s. We are continuing studies of their biology in an effort to understand the reasons for their rarity.
The Harpy Eagle project in Panama began in 1997 with the release of two captive-bred juveniles. Since then, we have successfully released and brought to independence a total of five Harpy Eagles. We now have a much better understanding of Harpy Eagle development and ecology, and the types of interactions they have with their potential quarry. However, shooting continues to be a principal problem, therefore public education is now a priority.
Fieldwork in various national parks keeps yielding important information about wild Harpy Eagles. In addition, we continue surveying remote areas of Panama where Harpy Eagles and OBFs could potentially live.
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